Google Beckons the Enterprise With Bolstered E-Mail Security

Google has added functionality from Postini — its recently acquired on-demand security provider — to Google Apps Premier Edition, further leveraging its ambitious acquisition and development platform.

Google acquired Postini last month for US$625 million in cash. The privately held company services about 35,000 firms, for a total of roughly 10 million end users who receive e-mail and instant message security, archiving, encryption and other hosted security solutions from the firm.

Prior to the acquisition, Postini worked with Google to develop security applications for Gmail accounts.

“With Postini, we saw the potential to deliver a more complete hosted solution for businesses of all sizes,” said Dave Girouard, vice president and general manager of Google Enterprise.

What It Can Do

Because intra-corporate development was underway prior to the acquisition, Google has been able to swiftly incorporate Postini in its Apps Premier Edition, providing security, compliance, policy management, and message recovery services designed to complement the spam and virus filters already included in Google Apps.

Among the new tools:

  • the ability to set configurable spam and virus filtering customized for the business;
  • a way to centrally manage all outbound content policy, including adding footers to every message based on business policy rules; blocking messages with specific keywords or attachments; and preventing e-mails with sensitive company information from being sent;
  • the ability to create, manage, and report on policies that apply to user groups or individual users;
  • visibility into all e-mail within an administrator’s organization for compliance; and
  • the ability to restore messages inadvertently deleted in the last 90 days.

Big League?

While the new functionality will no doubt receive kudos from security professionals, it is unlikely the new feature lineup will impress enterprises, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, principal research scientist at Secure Computing.

“It is good that Google is focusing on IM and [e-mail] threats, as these vulnerabilities are real,” he told TechNewsWorld. “It is absolutely essential to provide these to consumers.”

Enterprise needs, though, are different and more complex, he said.

“In the past, we have seen enterprises hesitate to outsource security to a hosted solution,” Alperovitch noted. “I think these issues will all pose problems for Google as it tries to move into this space.”

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