Sprint\u00a0tossed its hat into the managed e-mail services ring Monday, unveiling an e-mail scanning service that will weed out worms, viruses and attacks before they reach an organization's network.Called Sprint Email Protection Services, the new subscription service includes virus scanning and file blocking capabilities, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol attack protection, IP masking and content screening, according to Sprint.The service will also allow subscribers to filter spam messages, an increasingly attractive proposition to corporate IT managers struggling to deal with a flood of the unsolicited and often unsavory e-mail.Sprint already offers a variety of managed security services to its business customers. Those services include managed firewalls and even an antivirus package that uses technology from Trend Micro. However, those services operate at the level of the network gateway.Sprint's new service will route subscriber e-mail to one of 10 e-mail hosting centers scattered around the country before the e-mail reaches the corporate gateway. Filtering technology at those centers will then process the incoming mail before passing it along to a customer's corporate gateway, according to published statements made by Mickey O'Dell, Sprint's director of managed network services.The service does not require subscribers to purchase any hardware or software. Pricing will be based upon the size of the customer network being protected, according to published reports.Sprint will be competing in the e-mail scanning services space with a number of more established -- if smaller -- companies. Postini of Redwood City, Calif., Brightmail of San Francisco, and U.K.-based MessageLabs are but three companies that offer such services to customers in the United States.So ubiquitous have such services become, in fact, that some companies are releasing hardware and software that compensates for the vigilance of e-mail scanning services. In October, IronPort Systems of San Bruno, Calif., unveiled two e-mail appliances that can keep a company's legitimate outbound marketing e-mail from being blocked by a spam filter.