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AppRiver Secures E-Mail Tide

AppRiver claims its new service can stop the riptide of spam, eliminating 97 percent of unwanted e-mail before it reaches the network.

SecureTide, released on Wednesday, also aims to help businesses control employees' misuse of e-mail. It includes a suite of customizable tools that lets businesses monitor and enforce e-mail usage policy among employees.

The service, which builds on the two-year-old company's original offering, is aimed at tiny to medium-sized companies, but scales up to the enterprise, according to AppRiver co-founder and CTO Joel Smith.

"Our original idea was to enable anywhere from two- to 5000-user companies," Smith said. "We're finding that not only these smaller organizations want it, but larger organizations want it, too, because we can sit in front of their infrastructures."

The SecureTide spam and virus protection service requires no additional hardware or software, Smith said.

"We can enable the features for a lot less money, because we're a service. A company could turn our service on within a few minutes and turn it off as easily as we turn it on."

Typical AppRiver service pricing for a company with 50 users is fewer than $675 per year; existing AppRiver customers will be upgraded at no additional cost. Management tools for outbound e-mail cost extra.

New Web-based tools for managing both inbound and outbound e-mail enable users to track keywords and phrases in addresses, headers, subject lines and message bodies. And flagged e-mails can be blocked or re-directed for review.

For example, administrators can ban from the network unwanted file attachments, such as .exe, .wav, .jpeg or .mp3, and prohibit all messages containing specific phrases or those originating from countries specified by the administrator.

Using a service to filter e-mail before it hits the corporate mail servers can eliminate backscatter, the proliferation of bounced messages that occurs during a virus surge, Smith said.

"The effects of backscatter can be 10 times that of the virus itself," he said. "It can cause mail queues to build up, and people may experience one or two hours of delay."

Instead, he said, customers can send all outbound messages to AppRiver, which will clean them and deliver the good ones.

The AppRiver service also provides perimeter security, which conceals the user's message infrastructure to protect from a myriad of attacks, including Denial-of-Service and directory harvesting.