Postini Upgrades Help Google Answer Critics

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2007-11-13
 
 
 
Google has weathered a lot of criticism from market analysts who believe its Apps suite isnt secure enough for the enterprise.

The company took another step toward cementing its Apps suite as a reliable collaboration platform on Nov. 13 thanks to upgrades from its Postini assets. The improvements could help Google fend off critics who deemed Googles Apps suite as unsafe or too weak for enterprise consumption.

Postini engineers added content policy management, message archiving tools and tighter e-mail security, Adam Swidler, senior solutions marketing manager for Postini, told eWEEK.

To help businesses protect their communications and comply with industry regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability Act of America), the improved software now inspects incoming and outgoing messages and attachments and applies policy dispositions on the fly, such as quarantining the message for review or encrypting the message.

Click here to read more about Google buying Postini.

Now users will be able to scan and scrutinize Social Security and credit card numbers, and companies will have the capability to customize the content policies they define to match what they need in their environment, including medical record numbers and financial account numbers.

Postini also provides the ability to define any type of content policy rule using a regular expression, which is a compact mechanism of expressing a pattern in a particular e-mail message. This paves the way for policy dispositions.

In the future, Swidler said Postini will take the policy management and extend it to instant messaging clients, data stored in databases and other repositories in an organization and Google Apps, where it would execute content policies based on Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

Described by Swidler as the "bread and butter" of Postini, e-mail security is also getting a lift in this upgrade. The software is better at pinpointing zero-hour threats that plagues businesses. The software also speeds up spam and virus filtering and offers new defenses versus botnets.

To combat rapidly mutating viruses or blended attacks that use e-mail and a URL to fool e-mail defenses, Postini can now temporarily quarantine suspicious messages to give anti-virus vendors the chance to release a new signature definition to rescan the message.

Finally, Postini has boosted its message archiving capabilities, which is important because it enables customers to better find specific documents for legal discovery or internal investigation purposes. Postini is making this available in its standard and professional editions for no additional cost.

Users can create "investigations," or groupings of multiple searches, which can be exported and provided as part of the e-discovery process. Moreover, this software now supports the .PST format, as well as enhanced capabilities to control whats being retained and whats being purged and when.

Google tucks Postini assets into Apps. Read more here.

This tool also supports Microsoft Exchange 2007 journaling, which allows Postini to add intra-domain traffic to the message archive.

While content policy and the e-mail security improvements are included in the GAPE (Google Apps Premier Edition) at no additional cost, the message archiving software is only available as an add-on GAPE, so customers will have to contact the Google Postini team to procure this service for their GAPE software.

Postini does not have a time frame for rolling the message archiving into GAPE.

Swidler said the new changes will go live in Googles data center Nov. 13 with the exception of the botnet defense augmentations, which will go online in late November. Customers need only switch them on.

The Postini upgrades come roughly six weeks after Google integrated some of the Postini security assets into its Apps portfolio Oct. 3; the integration was a statement to the industry that Google is serious about making its Apps viable for the enterprise market.

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