Security Remains the Name of the E-Mail Game

By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2005-06-02 Print this article Print

Evolving threats and emboldened criminals keep messaging providers focused on security, while vendor consolidation pushes them to simplify products, industry executives say.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Security will continue to dominate the e-mail management industry over the next year as enterprises face more sophisticated threats from increasingly organized groups of attackers, messaging executives predict. Speaking here on Thursday at the INBOX conference, the executives from e-mail service providers and software makers said that the fight against spam, phishing attacks and viruses has just begun. "We have two years of pretty nasty innovation coming from wrong side," said Dave Anderson, president and CEO of Sendmail Inc. "That may be good from a business perspective for us, but its bad from the perspective of our customers."
In particular, more organized crime is getting involved in attacks, and the attackers are becoming more dogged by blending together multiple types of threats, said Tom Gillis, senior vice president for worldwide marketing at IronPort Systems Inc.
"In e-mail space the threats are very, very real and are driven by economics," Gillis said. "People are making money by exploiting holes in the email infrastructure. In order for us to stop the threats out there, we need to fundamentally change the way the e-mail infrastructure works." Gillis, in particular, noted the need for e-mail authentication so that users could verify the senders of e-mails and help cut down on phishing and other fraudulent activity. Click here to read about Yahoo and Cisco collaborating on a new e-mail authentication approach. While threats may still be real, the market for e-mail security also has turned from a sellers market to more of a buyers market as the first wave of customers have already installed technology such as anti-spam software, said Peter Christy, a principal at market researcher Internet Research Group. The e-mail security and management market also appears headed toward more consolidation as bigger vendors such as Symantec Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have more aggressively pursued the market and as areas such as anti-virus protection and spam-fight have become more common, panelist said. "Weve got blended threats, and were coming up with blended solutions," Anderson said. "Well see consolidation in business not just around a few successful companies but a suite of solutions so that it will stop being a point solution business." The upside for enterprise IT could be an increasing drive among vendors to offer more simplified, bundled offerings, something customers are demanding, said Anne Bonaparte, president and CEO of MailFrontier Inc. "The game is changing dramatically for us over the next couple years," she said. "Customers want to set it and forget it and put in a system that manages itself." Security and consolidation are the most immediate trends in e-mail, but the industry also increasingly must deal with customer demands for tracking compliance and the proliferation of e-mail on mobile devices, panelists said. Click here to read more about enterprises struggling with e-mail compliance. As e-mail and other messaging technologies such as instant messaging are accessed more regularly on mobile devices, security threats will follow as well, Anderson said. "Now we see all these devices connected together, in a seamless, wireless world, and where messaging assets can be gotten to from many directions," he said. "Anytime you take an environment and make more connections in the environment, what you get is a plague." Check out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.
Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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