Webroot's Latest Plunge into SAAS Just the Beginning

Webroot unveils its new Email Security SAAS, and officials promise similar security offerings throughout the year.

Webroot's software-as-a-service strategy took a major step forward when the company bought Email Systems in November.

However, company officials said that was only the beginning.

On Jan. 15, the vendor launched its Webroot E-Mail Security SAAS, which targets small- and medium-sized businesses looking to manage perimeter security. The service includes encryption, content and image filtering and anti-spam and anti-malware capabilities, as well as anti-spyware and archiving. Webroot officials said the company plans to continue to make headway in SAAS in the coming months.

"The software-as-a-service model enables existing and new customers to manage their malware and message security as a unified software service making it more manageable while providing better protection and value," said Chris Benham, Webroot vice president of corporate marketing. "This year customers will see Webroot starting to offer consumers similar security products as software services, eliminating all the typical alerts and user-intervention issues associated with consumer security software."

Email Systems was a leading SAAS security provider in the United Kingdom, and protects about 2.5 million e-mail boxes worldwide, according to Webroot. The decision to buy Email Systems was based on Webroot's desire to provide e-mail and Web management, protection and compliance services to bolster its security offerings.

At the time, analysts said the move was a smart play, particularly as more SMBs look to managed services for security. A number of companies have entered the security SAAS space, from Symantec to SecureWorks to Google, with its acquisition of Postini. Research firm IDC predicts that worldwide spending on hosted messaging security services, which totaled $300 million in 2006, will hit $1.4 billion by 2011.

"Perimeter security has traditionally been managed by on-site software or appliances. Like all software and hardware, they need to be managed - updated, patched, configured - in order to provide the highest level of effectiveness," Benham said. "Most organizations, especially SMBs, rarely have the resources or expertise to dedicate to full-time security, and therefore are often the most vulnerable to attack. Our strategy will be to provide better security through better manageability, better protection and all for better value."