IBM to launch email filtering managed service

IBM is partnering with MessageLabs to provide a managed email security service that filters messages for viruses, spam and inappropriate content before they reach a company's network and that uses a predictive technology designed to identify threats not yet defined.

The IBM offering, called email Security Management Services, was based on an existing set of services from MessageLabs called MessageLabs Email Security System, global offering executive at IBM Global Services' Security and Privacy Services, Michel Bobillier, said.

IBM brought to the table its support infrastructure and ongoing input from its research unit for continued improvements to the service, as well as the ability to integrate this email protection service into its other managed security services, he said. Meanwhile, MessageLabs benefitted from exposure for its service through IBM's sales channels, he said.

IBM's clients had been asking for a service such as this one, and IBM decided to partner with MessageLabs instead of developing the technology itself because it found MessageLabs' service to be excellent, he said.

The system filtered both a company's incoming and outgoing messages to prevent malicious code and content from touching the network, Bobillier said.

"Building a defense in the [network] perimeter is not enough anymore," he said. "We need a more proactive way to protect critical applications, by filtering these messages before they reach the network. It's not safe enough to install some defense software on servers and desktops."

The system uses predictive algorithms to eliminate threats that haven't yet been discovered and defined by security vendors and experts, Bobillier said.

The service is aimed at medium-sized and large companies, starting with implementations of 50 users, he said.

The offering consists of three components, which can be bought separately: email Anti-virus, for viruses, worms, Trojan horses and other threats of that nature; email Image filtering, which uses composition image analysis to flag inappropriate images embedded in messages, such as pornographic content; email Anti-spam, for blocking unsolicited commercial email messages.

IBM declined to provide pricing information for the managed service.

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