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Postini's E-Mail Security Big on Small Biz

E-mail security vendor Postini announced the immediate availability of a small- to medium-sized (SMB) version of its enterprise-sized hosted offering Monday.

The Postini Perimeter Manager Small Business Edition (SBE) is a pared down version of its corporate offering, which routes e-mails through its data centers before sending them along to the business, cutting down on the amount of spam and viruses that reaches the end user's inbox.

Officials said the SMB version came as a result of feedback from some of its existing customers, who said they didn't need all the bells-and-whistles and functionality that comes with supporting an enterprise e-mail operation.

They also point to industry statistics from AMI Partners, a research firm specializing in SMBs, which show a 40 percent increase in spending last year on software as a service (SaaS) offerings and an expected reach of three million companies in the U.S. and Europe by 2008. These SMBs, the research firm also notes, average less than one IT person on staff.

Earlier this year, Postini published an e-mail security assessment report that found the companies most likely to get piled under a mountain of spam are SMBs, which usually don't have the resources to combat the problem.

"Per person, small companies get up to 10 times as much spam as big companies," said Andrew Lochart, Postini director of product marketing.

What SMBs want, Lochart said, is a product that just keeps spam out of their servers without a lot of fuss or cost; they typically only have one e-mail server and there usually aren't enough people in the organization to justify complex use policies.

To take their enterprise offering and reduce it down into something an SMB would be comfortable with, the company's developers tweaked Perimeter Manager in several areas:

  • Automated user account creation after receiving three legitimate e-mails to a new account
  • SBE end user controls have been reduced, no individual filters
  • One e-mail server per customer
  • One global policy
  • Fixed spooling allocation at 2 GB, rather than seven-day spooling

"The idea of one-size-fits-all suits [SMBs] just fine," he said. "They are really looking for us to take absolutely as much admin overhead off their plate as we can."

As further incentive for would-be customers, Postini will conduct several tests periodically to rate the e-mail service's performance. They include tests on the companies MX records , message delivery and latency and trace route tests.

Postini is pricing Perimeter Manager SBE at $25 per user, per year.