SurfControl adds managed services to security suite

New email and Web services analyse security threats in real time

Security vendor SurfControl has announced a pair of managed services for Web and e-mail security, taking advantage of technology it acquired with its purchase of BlackSpider Technologies earlier this year.

The new e-mail and Web services, called MailControl and WebDefense, respectively, take advantage of BlackSpider's on-demand technology for managed services that analyze threats in real time and offer the ability to scale along with customers' needs, says Margaret Diego, product manager with SurfControl.

With the addition of these new services, SurfControl says it is the only vendor in the content-filtering market offering its technology as services, at the gateway as software or an appliance, and on the desktop.

Law firm Hill Dikinson, which has about 850 users on its network, was a customer of SurfControl's and BlackSpider's before the acquisition, and continues to use both software and services to protect its e-mail and Web streams.

One of the advantages of having a service is the IT department is freed to focus on other issues, says Lee Taylor, IT manager with the firm.

"We have lower administrative overhead, so on a daily basis we're not as involved in manually looking at what we've trapped. Now we've got more confidence," he says.

Like most security vendors, the company promotes the idea that customers protect themselves from threats at multiple layers within their organization, usually with a mix of products working at different levels from different vendors. But SurfControl's message is unique in that the company recommends customers use its technology on all three levels.

Yet in this era of partnering and reselling in the security market, no one vendor offers all its own components anyway, points out Paul Stamp, senior analyst with Forrester Research. For example, SurfControl resells McAfee's product for virus protection.

Also, there can be security advantages to getting all of these pieces from one vendor, Stamp says.

"There's an argument that says having one place to set policy and monitor when things go wrong increases your security anyway; it's always a trade-off between the security vulnerabilities introduced by complexity rather than ... missing a threat," he says.

In addition, because the company offers both Web and e-mail protection it can react more quickly to new threats. For example, if a phishing attack is sent out via e-mail and identified by SurfControl, the company can then tweak its Web-filtering products to block users from visiting the URL embedded in the phishing e-mail, says Diego.

Pricing for the new services range from US$10 per user per year to US$30 per user per year, depending on the size of the organization and which services are purchased, said SurfControl Australia's country manager Charles Heunemann.

SurfControl has also announced upgrades to a number of its software offerings. Version 5.5 of the SurfControl E-mail Filter includes new searching and reporting features. SurfControl Web Filter 5.5 and Mobile Filter 5.5 now have integrated virus protection and can filter additional protocols including peer-to-peer, instant messaging and streaming media. SurfControl RiskFilter 5.2 now offers e-mail encryption and authentication, and includes integrated Web threat protection.

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