IBM's ISS announces virtual e-mail security appliance

VMware-based appliance blocks inbound and outbound threats

IBM's Internet Security Systems (ISS) on Wednesday announced a virtual e-mail security appliance that runs alongside other applications on a single piece of hardware, instead of requiring a dedicated device.

Slated for availability this month, the virtual appliance is based on ISS' Proventia Network Mail Security System and is designed to block all the abuses entering an organization via e-mail, including spam, phishing attacks, viruses, worms and other malware, as well as monitoring of outbound e-mail, according to company officials.

Exemplifying the trend among data centers to consolidate hardware components and their management, the new virtual appliance from ISS lowers the cost of e-mail security while simplifying the tracking, auditing, and prevention of messaging threats, officials say.

The new virtual security appliance combines features from ISS' intrusion-prevention systems, and can protect organizations from both traditional and image-based spam.

As with the existing Proventia products, the new appliance can be managed via a centralized console, the IBM Proventia Management SiteProtector, which also works with ISS' entire suite of security products, officials say. At launch the virtual appliance will work with VMware, and the company plans to add compatibility with other virtual environments in the future.

Pricing for the virtual appliance depends on the number of users in an organization. For example, a company with 1,000 employees would pay US$7 per user, officials say.

IBM's ISS is not the first company to release a virtualized version of an e-mail security appliance; Proofpoint last year released a version of its Messaging Security Gateway for VMware.

IBM acquired ISS last August for $1.3 billion.

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