IronPort, Proofpoint appliances target spam

With spam and viruses reaching epidemic proportions, messaging security vendors IronPort Systems and Proofpoint are releasing appliances designed to help IT deal with the onslaught.

With spam and viruses reaching epidemic proportions, messaging security vendors IronPort Systems and Proofpoint are releasing appliances designed to help IT deal with the onslaught.

This week, IronPort will release C10, an all-in-one appliance for protection against messaging vulnerabilities, which include spam and viruses. It is designed for organizations with less than 250 e-mail users. The C10 is modeled after IronPort's C60 and C30 appliances for larger organizations.

Proofpoint last week introduced its first appliance, called the P-Series Message Protection Appliance. The appliance uses a stripped-down Linux kernel and Proofpoint's Protection Server 2.0 software, which also was released last week.

"The new features of 2.0 are not what sold me on the appliance," says Sam Shoen, manager of the Web team for U-Haul in Phoenix. "I like the built-in administration, the fact that I can control all of the lower-level functions from a single device." Those functions include the message transfer agent (MTA) that connects a corporate messaging system to the Internet.

Shoen ran the Protection Server on a Linux server before he replaced that configuration with the P-Series appliance. The previous configuration made him a little nervous, given that the company does not have any Linux expertise on staff. U-Haul supports 5,000 users on its e-mail system that runs on Open Text's FirstClass. "I don't have to know how to configure Sendmail MTA. Now it's all in the appliance, and I have a single point of support if something goes wrong," he says.

The Proofpoint appliance includes the Protection Server 2.0 software, which features multi-layered spam filtering including inspection of the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol header, the body of the e-mail, and structured and unstructured data associated with the message. It also adds Smart URL Blocking, which examines URLs and determines how much information has been forged in the e-mail header. Proofpoint has added controls to evaluate whether a message might contain pornographic content, which is often hidden behind creative spellings, and filters for foreign language spam. It also lets end users add their own personal safe and block lists.

The appliance includes a Red Hat Fedora Linux kernel that has been stripped of about 85% of its features. It also has firewall capabilities to protect open ports. The box has a Web-based management interface and is being developed with Dell.

It comes in three models: the P400 for $20,000, the P600 for $30,000 and the P800 for $45,000, which can handle up to a million messages per day.

IronPort's C10 also includes a content scanning engine, the ability to detect threatening e-mail traffic patterns and the ability to fend off mail storm attacks.

C10 pricing has not been determined.

The two companies compete with BorderWare Technologies, CipherTrust, MailFrontier and Mirapoint.

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