IBM is looking to make it easier for smaller businesses to protect themselves against spam and viruses that make their way onto the network through e-mail.
The Armonk, N.Y., company is rolling out an Express configuration for its eServer OpenPower 710 system bundled with e-mail security software from a third-party vendor, Message Partners.
In addition, IBM is offering a service to small and midsize businesses, or SMBs, in which IBM and its partners will manage the e-mail security for the customer.
"Think of it as owning and leasing," said Kevin Dawson, manager of Linux on Power Solutions for IBM.
IBMs OpenPower systems run on the companys Power5 processor and are targeted at the Linux community. IBM on Tuesday is launching the OpenPower Network e-Mail Security Express, aimed at SMBs with 100 to 1,000 employees.
Bundled with Message Partners MPP (Message Processing Platform), the system offers businesses the latest anti-virus, anti-spam and content filtering capabilities to protect its network, Dawson said. In addition, MPP—a security application that can be adapted and scaled as need demands—also offers e-mail archiving capabilities, which helps businesses stay in compliance with the growing number of federal regulations, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
"Compliance is a huge issue with SMBs," Dawson said. "Im unsure whether everyone understands their compliance needs. Once you can archive [e-mail messages] ... thats one of the keys to government compliance."
Compliance and security are growing issues among SMBs, many of which have little or no IT staff to handle the growing workload in dealing with these issues, Dawson said. A recent survey by IBM indicated that more than half of SMB executives polled said compliance was a bigger issue now than a year ago, with 64 percent saying their companies are currently dealing with compliance issues.
In addition, about 40 percent of the companies polled said they plan to upgrade and buy new applications and IT resources to deal with security. Two years ago, about 30 percent of e-mail coming into servers was spam, Dawson said. Today that number is closer to 80 percent.
"That is expensive," he said. "It costs a lot of time."
For businesses that dont want to buy a security solution, IBM is offering its Express Managed Security Services for e-Mail Security. Delivered through IBMs Business Partners, SMBs can have their e-mail scanned off-site for spam, viruses and content before it reaches the network. The service also can help with archiving.
The IBM eServer OpenPower Network e-Mail Security Express is available now. For small businesses, pricing starts at $4,995; for midsize businesses, pricing starts at $7,950.
For the service, pricing for 250 to 499 seats and four services is about $3.83 per seat per month.