Postini Gets Google’s Blessing

Postini has announced it plans to provide security, administration and archiving services for Gmail, Google’s on-demand e-mail service.

With some 50,000 customers and over 12 million individual customers, Postini is already considered the leading vendor of on-demand e-mail archiving and administration services. Winning Google’s hand further differentiates Postini from Message Labs, MX Logic and other competitors in the space.

The move also positions Postini for future growth in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) market when and if Google’s on-demand productivity tools start gaining traction.

Postini also announced a raft of new services and enhancements to existing offerings today, including a Web-based portal that customers can use to manage their own personal settings and preferences, and restore accidentally deleted e-mails.

The self-help aspect of the service allows companies to reduce administrative costs while giving business customers greater control over their experience. “It makes people feel more empowered,” said Dan Druker, executive vice president of marketing for Postini.

Postini also introduced a set of new investigation management tools that help customers comply with e-discovery regulations, such as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

These rules, amended December 1, 2006, make companies treat e-mail, instant messages and other electronic communication in the same manner as paper documents for litigation purposes.

Because the costs of searching for relevant documents manually are very high, the new investigation tools not only help companies remain in compliance, but also save customers money; features of this tool-set include saving search criteria for reuse, preventing documents from being deleted, and setting expiration dates for litigation holds.

Postini also announced new Web security features, including real-time network reputation triggers that detect and defend against bot-net attacks, and a feature that identifies potentially hazardous sites that come up during a Web search.

The service, which works on popular search engines like Yahoo, Google and MSN , also lets people access safe portions of certain sites while preventing them from going to areas that violate company policy.

Druker noted that this helps companies remain compliant with internal and regulatory requirements without impinging unnecessarily on employee productivity.

MacAfee’s Site Advisor is similar to this in many ways, except that Site Advisor does not allow users to access parts of a site and not others.

The Web-based administration console, which allows customers to delegate administration at either a regional, department or individual level will help Postini move up-market from the SMB space, noted Gartner analyst Peter Firstbrook.

He also noted that the agreement with Google gives Postini the advantage of learning some early lessons that will help them in the long run. “It’s not a big money-maker for them, but it’s a feather in their cap.”

Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research, further suggested that Postini could well end up providing security for Google Apps, which is also being marketed to the SMB market.

“If you’re looking at storing your data on Google servers, working on Google documents and spreadsheets and all the rest, you’d need a very secure infrastructure,” he said.

“So Google Apps could be a very natural extension for both of them.”

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