Email services provider MessageLabs Ltd says it wants to offer customers better protection from blended threats and will start delivering managed security using a proprietary application infrastructure, instead of its current arrangement which relies on third-party services provided by ScanSafe Ltd.
The new service, which will be switched on in the first week of July, includes predictive threat systems MessageLabs call Skeptic, which take recent threat and reputation information from one service protocol, such as email, and applies that data to web traffic. The service uses no ScanSafe software at all, said Brian Czarny, VP at the Gloucester, UK-based supplier.
To develop an integrated service that works across multiple applications we needed to own the underlying message security platform. We can now provide converged threat analysis using intelligence on IM and email threats to prime a reputation database, and apply that back to the web filtering process, Czarny said.
Because its current web filtering services are based on ScanSafe technology, MessageLabs was unable to refine its take on security posture in the same manner without running into issues of latency.
MessageLabs cut a deal with ScanSafe Ltd in August 2005 to add hosted web filtering to its managed message services. This relies on ScanSafe technology to redirect a company’s web traffic to a proxy server where it is scanned for spyware and viruses, as well as for prohibited URLs and file extensions, with only clean, approved traffic being forwarded to the customer.
ScanSafe has similar deals with MessageLabs’ chief rival Postini Inc, as well as Integralis and Star in the UK.
At the time of its deal with ScanSafe, MessageLabs’ president and co-founder Jos White said the filtering service would use ScanSafe’s infrastructure for the web scanning part, but that over time, as we ramp up in common customers, we’ll want to build our own infrastructure. This is the substance of yesterday’s announcement.
The launch of version 2.0 of its managed security services will use a proprietary MessageLabs web scanning architecture that ties directly into the company’s existing email and IM services. We are striving for zero latency, said Czarny. The architecture we have developed means we can offer managed services where load-balancing is achieved globally across all our data centers, and web-filtering is optimized using intelligent routing.
There will benefits in terms of scale, speed, and performance from moving to the proprietary platform, Czarny said. Customers and competitors can expect to see stronger service level agreements from MessageLabs as a result, he said. The SLA is a sales tool, and we think it will be the strongest in the industry, he added.
MessageLabs claims it has 14,000 companies using its various messaging and web security services. MessageLabs Web Security Services 2.0 will become available July 3. An organization taking two services for anti-spyware and anti-virus can expect to pay around $5 per seat per month.