Proofpoint upgrades, integrates e-mail security

Data-loss prevention, encryption melded with threat protection

Proofpoint on Monday announced a version of its security offering that offers e-mail threat protection, data-leak prevention, and messaging encryption in one box.

Available now as a dedicated appliance, a virtual appliance or software suite, Proofpoint 5 features an integrated architecture that blocks spam, viruses and other malware from entering an organization via e-mail. It also prevents confidential or sensitive data from being sent outside of a company without approval and encrypts outbound e-mail communication, according to Andres Kohn, vice president of product management with Proofpoint.

Proofpoint is the first security company to provide these functions in an integrated product, Kohn says. The new product is being announced at the Gartner IT Security Summit 2007 in Washington, D.C., this week.

In addition to integrating different functions into this product, Proofpoint has upgraded the components.

Data-loss prevention capabilities have been enhanced with tools for creating policies that can prevent information from leaving the company via e-mail, the Web or file transfer, Kohn says. Proofpoint's Regulatory Compliance module now contains new identifiers and dictionaries to help flag sensitive information without requiring customization.

The City of Topeka, Kansas., is planning to use Proofpoint 5 to monitor outbound e-mail, according to Bill Stephens, manager of electronic communications there.

"Our city attorney's office deals in legal issues, and we want to make certain if any cases under litigation are referenced [in outbound e-mail] we know about it," he says. Stephens believes that customizing the outbound filters to catch what the city is looking for should be relatively simple, because Proofpoint's inbound filters can be easily tweaked. The city now uses Proofpoint's reputation service, antispam, antivirus and zero-hour protection modules.

Administration of the components is easier with this release, continues Proofpoint's Kohn, thanks to a new "Web 2.0" interface for customization, reporting and user controls. The company also has tweaked the performance across all of the products, including faster message filtering and connection processing.

For companies that use multiple Proofpoint appliances, network administrators can choose which services should be loaded on which box via the centralized, Web-based console, and service configurations can be customized to each appliance, Kohn says. Administrators can set security policies once and apply them to SMTP, HTTP and FTP communications.

Proofpoint 5's encryption capabilities, provided by the integration of Voltage Security's IBE technology, also can be managed via policies to automatically encrypt outbound e-mail at the gateway, Kohn says.

Pricing for the Proofpoint 5 appliance starts at US$6,750, plus annual user license fees. Modules -- including those for antispam, antivirus, secure messaging, data-loss prevention, advanced log analysis and multiprotocol policy enforcement -- are sold separately.

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