• United States

NaviSite lures spam haters with managed service

Aug 25, 20033 mins

* NaviSite offers spam filtering as a service

[Editor’s Note: Denise Pappalardo is off today. In place of her newsletter we present this news story from the Service Provider Networks section of Network World Fusion. Enjoy.]

John Knapp, executive vice president at Producers Assistance, a personnel company in Houston that serves the energy industry, was ready to give up on e-mail.

“I was getting 200 spam messages a day,” Knapp says. “It was uncontrollable.”

He wanted to filter out the spam, but wasn’t happy about the prospect of having to implement and manage antispam software. Instead, he signed up for a hosted service from his messaging application service provider Interliant, which offers a managed spam-blocking and virus-detection service through its partner, Postini.

Managed infrastructure company NaviSite, which acquired Interliant and its spam- and virus-blocking service earlier this year, expects other companies to follow Knapp’s lead. Last week, NaviSite announced a special introductory offer for its Managed Spam Filtering service that waives setup charges and discounts the service 25% for customers who sign one-year contracts. John Whiteside, director of product marketing for NaviSite’s messaging services, says pricing for the service varies but typically includes a $250 setup fee and “a couple of dollars per mailbox per month.”

Postini’s technology analyzes IP addresses and all text and HTML parts of a message against “heuristics-based expressions” in real time to weed out spam. End users can modify the filters to ensure that legitimate e-mail doesn’t get blocked.

While dozens of companies – such as NetIQ, Symantec and Tumbleweed Communications – offer antispam products, only a handful, including FrontBridge Technologies and Postini, offer spam filtering as a hosted service. Both companies let customers set filtering controls, but Masha Khmartseva, a senior analyst at Radicati Group, says Postini lets end users set up their own profiles, rather than requiring a mail administrator or authorized user do it. 

The benefit of a hosted service, analysts say, is that companies don’t have to deal with deploying, managing and updating the software. In addition, companies can save money on bandwidth because messages are scanned in remote data centers, so inappropriate messages never enter customer networks.

“There is no question in my mind that we’re saving money,” says Knapp, who says his 200 unwelcome e-mails per day have been whittled to about a dozen. “I expect to save money on the amount of bandwidth that we’re not paying for, because that’s how we pay for our mail hosting. The more stuff we move back and forth, the more we pay, so by eliminating it from ever coming here, we’re cutting down the cost of our service.”

Khmartseva says NaviSite’s decision to offer the managed spam-filtering service makes sense.

“NaviSite has a lot of other services that it offers, so customers can get a complete solution,” Khmartseva says.

To help companies determine the financial effect that spam is having on their bottom line, NaviSite has set up a spam cost estimator on its Web site.