Is Google’s new email security service ‘piecemeal’?

6 Feb 2008

Just when people were beginning to think that Google had forgotten all about the online security firm Postini, which it acquired for US$625m last September, the internet behemoth has introduced a new suite of email security services powered by Postini’s technology and aimed at businesses.

The three new services, which are designed to compliment the Google Apps range of online collaborative applications, are Message Filtering, Message Security and Message Discovery.

Message Filtering is a service as a service and as such requires no hardware installation and can be used by a business running any email application such as Outlook Express.

Because the service filters over two billion email messages per day, Google claims this ‘network effect’ means that it can detect and trap the latest threat intelligence to email systems and apply it to all client communications instantly.

Message Security is a step-up from Message Filtering, and as well as implementing the previously mentioned methods, it will also have outbound email processing and email encryption.

While Google has owned Postini for nearly six months and already provides online security, UK tech firm Ovum, says that this shows how big internet firms are slowly encroaching on each other’s territories and overlapping in terms of services provided.

However, Graham Titterington, principal analyst at Ovum, has reservations about this new suite of security services: “Our main reservation about this development is that it is a piecemeal approach. Enterprises are looking for comprehensive security services, and to rationalise their supplier base.

“At a time when more malware is reaching enterprises through web browsing than through email, Google is divorcing its web security and mail security offerings. This fragmented approach becomes more irritating as we move into the so-called Web 2.0 domain.

“The current approach seems to be aimed at capturing the low-hanging fruit with an offer that is financially very attractive. It will be well received by smaller enterprises but larger organisations have already set their sights beyond this kind of approach.”

By Marie Boran