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Google Bolsters E-Mail Security In Apps

Customers of Google Apps Premier Edition now have new e-mail security features as a part of the company's suite of hosted applications. Google on Wednesday announced that Apps Premiere will now integrate services from Postini, the e-mail security company Google purchased in July for $625 million in cash.

"We had a goal of getting the product integration and capabilities out to the customer base as expediently as possible," Matthew Glotzbach, director of enterprise products at Google, told InternetNews.com.

Postini, the acquisition of which officially closed last month, markets services that protect, encrypt, archive and enforce policies for e-mail, instant messaging and other Internet-based communications. The Google Apps Premiere Edition suite, available for $50 per user annually, already includes Gmail, Calendar, Talk, Docs & Spreadsheets and Personal Start Page – and now Postini's policy and message recovery features.

Glotzbach said that while Gmail already has "really good" spam filtering, it's now complemented by Postini, which gives enterprise customers the ability to set rules and implement policies about other types of e-mail.

For example, Postini adds the ability to block certain keywords or attachments or specific types of attachments; a finance department might not want to allow spreadsheet attachments to be sent without authorization.

"The important point from our view is that we're able to provide an enterprise class application that can be maintained at any level whether it's company-wide, for a certain group or individuals," Glotzbach said.

Using Postini, administrators can configure the system so that certain groups within the company can be blocked from using non-Gmail e-mail services, while another division can have incoming mail sent to both Gmail and legacy e-mail accounts. Glotzbach said these sorts of features came about following feedback from enterprise customers during pilot programs.

In addition, Google announced that it boosted the available e-mail storage in Gmail for Apps Premier users from 10GB to 25GB, at no additional charge. The new version of the service also adds a message recovery feature, enabling administrators retrieve deleted e-mail for up to 90 days.

"There are also tools for administrators to search across an entire company's archive of e-mail over those 90 days when legal compliance or other issues come up," Glotzbach said.

Google also continues to offer Postini services separately. Any current or new Postini customers are eligible for a free trial of Google Apps Premier through June 2008.

Joshua Greenbaum, an analyst with Enterprise Applications Consulting, said Google is takign the right steps to make Apps Premier more appealing to corporate customers, but it still has a long way to go.

"Adding Postini's capabilities is helping Google Apps grow up and look more like an adult," Greenbaum told InternetNews.com. "But I think what they need to do next is offer a robust and precise terms of service that makes sure the service levels are guaranteed and commensurate with what corporate users expect. In the enterprise, it's not about being inexpensive; security policies and performance are what matters."