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February 6, 2008

Google Offers Security Services for Mail Servers

Google acquired last year Postini, a company that offered hosted services for email servers. "Postini invented the software as a service approach to providing communications security and compliance, and holds two fundamental patents in the space, with more patents pending." Google integrated a small part of the offering in Google Apps Premier Edition: policy management, spam/virus filtering and 90-days message recovery.

Now Google offers the rest of the Postini services under the Google Apps umbrella, but without tying them with Google Apps Premier Edition and Gmail. Google Apps Security Services work with the most important email servers (Microsoft Exchange Server, Lotus Domino, Postfix, Sendmail, Macintosh OS X Server, Novell Groupwise) and offer three levels of protection, priced differently:

* message filtering: anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-phishing, and malware protection for inbound messages - $3/user/year
* message security: inbound and outbound mail filtering, email encryption, content policy management - $12/user/year
* message discovery: the same as above plus one-year message archiving, audit reports - $25/user/year

For educational institutions and non-profit organizations, the prices are much smaller: $1, $4 and $8.33/user/year. For all the services, Google provides 99.999% service level assurance.

Here's how the service works: you change the MX records to point your mail traffic to Google's data centers and all the bad traffic will be stopped before reaching your mail server. Google processes email in RAM and doesn't write the valid messages to disk.
Google provides multiple layers of protection against viruses. The service leverages its visibility to emerging threats by monitoring attacks against our customer base and - in real-time - blocks IP addresses that are issuing virus attacks. In addition, Google utilities multiple anti-virus protections including zero-hour heuristics, coupled with multiple commercial anti-virus engines to detect existing and emerging threats.

As with our virus protection, Google leverages visibility into billions of daily message connections to monitor spam attacks and blocks the most obvious spam. Our heuristic engine then filters the incoming mail traffic and captures any suspicious messages. This is all performed in real-time (processed in RAM memory in our data centers) without delays to your email delivery. With these capabilities, Google combines an extremely effective capture rate with an exceptionally low false positive rate.

Google says that Postini already has 40,000 customers and 14 million users and these affordable prices should increase the user base. Unfortunately, the association between these security services and Google Apps might confuse the potential clients and make them think that the services are only available for Gmail.

In fact, Gmail already includes anti-spam, basic anti-virus, anti-phishing and the corporate version of Google Apps includes content policy management and basic message archiving at no additional cost. Maybe Google will use the data obtained from Postini's services to enhance Gmail's security features.


  1. How does the anti-virus & anti-spam offering here compare to what's already available in gmail & apps?

  2. In the past, Microsoft Exchange 2003 POP service was incompatible with Gmail, including that of Google Apps: access to Gmail via POP required SSL connection, whereas Exchange only supports non-SSL connections. Do you know if that changed? Thank you.

  3. Very cool. Most of the other services like that seem to be in the $1-$5/month/address range. At this price point for those of us who manage under a few thousand email accounts it's probably cheaper than maintaining our own clam/spamassassin gateway after you figure in bandwidth, management time, physical server maintenance, etc.

  4. Exchange POP3 Connectors are still retarded, but there are solutions such as POPBeamer that can solve that (and not only that) problem for you.

  5. The amount of services Google offers (most of them free and incredibly useful) is almost beginning to overwhelm me. Just take a browse through their list and see if you don't agree with me. What is even worse, is that almost every one of them sounds so very crucial that I can't imagine how I even function without them. One of these weekends I need to just sit down and devote some serious time to checking these out.

  6. I think its a good method to prevent spam emails. Great.

  7. I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic way is amusing, continue the good work!

    hop over to these guys


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