McAfee Launches Managed Mail Security Service

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based security firm rolled out Managed Mail Protection, an integrated service that features antispam, antivirus and content-filtering features.

"We're after the part of the market that doesn't have the resources to implement security services on its own," said Lillian Wai, the product marketing manager for McAfee's managed services group. "The sweet spot is the 1,000 to 1,500-employee small to medium-size enterprise, where a managed service is an alternative to deploying hardware, like security appliances, at the gateway," she said.

Like other managed e-mail security services brokered by vendors such as Postini and MessageLabs, McAfee intercepts mail before it reaches the customer's mail servers. "All it takes is a redirection of the mail exchange record," said Wai. "And we walk them through that process when they sign up."

A mail exchange record, dubbed "MX Record", is a domain name server (DNS) resource record type that designates which host server handles mail for a domain. Once the MX Record is altered to point to McAfee's California-based servers, a customer's in- and outbound messages are shunted there before arriving at the company's own servers or sent to recipients. The content-filtering and virus/spam detection is then done by McAfee's servers.

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"Viruses and spam are trapped in the clouds, before they reach the gateway," said Wai, stressing that the service doesn't require customers to install any additional hardware or software on their ends.

Unlike some competitors, the McAfee service's spam and virus detection and deletion are based on the company's own proprietary engines, Wai said. Next year, McAfee will expand the service to include some of its own intrusion-protection technologies.

The service uses a variety of filtering techniques, including Bayesian and heuristic detection of viruses, antispam white and black lists and default content-filtering settings. Administrators use a Web-based console to view reports, monitor quarantined messages for false positives and set policies. "My mom could set this up," claimed Wai.

Managed Mail Protection is the second service in McAfee's managed lineup. The original, VirusScan ASaP, is a virus-only managed service that currently protects some two million desktops and servers.

McAfee isn't the only vendor known for desktop security products that's also betting on the managed service market. In June, for instance, rival Symantec acquired antispam software provider Brightmail for $370 million, and within three months had struck a deal to include that technology in upcoming multitiered managed services sold by U.K.-based MessageLabs.

"No, our [new] managed service isn't a response to Symantec and Brightmail," said Wai. "Not really. It came out of requests from our customers, who were asking for a one-stop solution."

Managed Mail Protection is available through McAfee's channel partners at an average price of $20.61 per user per month, and can also be ordered direct from the vendor through its online store.

This story courtesy of TechWeb .