MessageLabs Makes Acquisition to Expand Reach

The provider of managed e-mail security services is acquiring enterprise instant messaging vendor Omnipod to expand its offerings beyond e-mail and Web filtering services.

Managed e-mail security services provider MessageLabs Inc. is acquiring enterprise instant messaging vendor Omnipod Inc. to expand its offerings beyond e-mail and Web filtering services, said officials today.

In the short term, MessageLabs plans to offer Omnipods managed hosted IM service, Professional Online Desktop, as a separate service, but in the first quarter of 2006 the company will integrate MessageLabs security technologies into Omnipods IM service.

In the second quarter of 2006, MessageLabs plans to launch a proxy-based IM security service based on the combined technologies that will work with other corporate IM clients and that the company will target to compete with offerings from IM security specialists like IMLogic Inc., FaceTime Communications Inc. and Akonix Systems Inc., said Brian Czarny, vice president of product management, for MessageLabs, in New York.

"We initially were looking at building it ourselves or partnering, but OmniPod seemed like a natural fit. They have a managed service like we do, and once we got a good look at them, we saw it was fairly easy to integrate them from a technological perspective," said Czarny.

Financial terms of the cash-and-stock deal, expected to close this month, were not disclosed.

MessageLabs joins a number of other e-mail security vendors who have recently sought to extend their offerings into the IM space.

Managed e-mail security service provider Postini Inc. in September extended its hosted security service to include IM security services based on technology licensed from IMLogic Inc.

/zimages/2/28571.gifVideo blog shines light on the Iraq War. Click here to read more.

And last month, e-mail security appliance vendor CipherTrust Inc. launched a new gateway appliance for IM that aims to block message-borne threats before they leave or enter the network.

IM security threats once again made headlines last week, when a rootkit was detected spreading through AOLs IM client and chat rooms. Some researchers said the appearance of the rootkit could mean that hackers could soon launch an automated worm attack against IM networks.

MessageLabs says that it is also planning to provide security services around voice over IP and mobile data traffic and to offer presence-based message delivery, where messages could be re-routed from, for example, e-mail to SMS or IM based on a users location.

/zimages/2/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for more on IM and other collaboration technologies.