Google Streamlines Security Apps

A less confusing selection of products from Google's Postini acquisition clears one marketing hurdle as the search company seeks to convince potential customers there's no Google Apps lock-in.

By David Needle | Posted Feb 7, 2008
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Google today reduced pricing significantly for its line of on-demand security software as it continues to fine-tune the software applications it acquired last year when it bought Postini.

"What was once a convoluted and complex product line is now three nice chunks of applications at an aggressive price," Scott Petry, founder of Postini and product management director at Google, told InternetNews.com.

"Before we would try and get more dollars for every feature," he explained, "but now that we're part of Google there's a great democratization of the product line that lets us reach a huge market."

The three areas Google offers are in security and compliance services: Google Message Filtering, Message Security and Message Discovery.

Filtering, which covers incoming spam, malware and other e-mail threats, is available for $3 per user per year. According to Petry, the volume of spam doubled last year. "If you're an administrator, do you want to double what you spend on security appliances?"

Alternatively, Google's approach of offering software as a service (SaaS) (define) and storage online lets IT better maintain its infrastructure costs, he said.

Messaging Security includes filtering and adds "enhanced virus detection," outbound processing and content policy management at $12 per user, per year. Administrators can use the service to enforce policy rules -- for example, prevent Social Security numbers and credit card information from being transmitted via e-mail.

Message Discovery includes Security and adds one year of message data archiving, retention and discovery. The service is designed for companies looking to improve their readiness for legal discovery and compliance issues. Cost is $25 per user for one year of archived data.

"This shows Google is making a more coordinated effort to go beyond the Google Apps Premier brand and get into other areas like archiving and compliance," Michael Osterman, principal at Osterman Research, told InternetNews.com.

"The pricing is very significant. When you start at $3 per user annually, compared with what some other companies charge, that's almost nothing. Also, the fact you can mix and match only what you need gives companies a lot of flexibility," he said.

According to Osterman, Google faces a near-term challenge of letting potential customers know they don't need to be running Google Apps to use the security and compliance software.

"The market of Apps is growing, but Microsoft Office is what most people use, and I don't think companies realize Google's messaging and security services are completely independent services that can be purchased separately to use with the software they already use," Osterman said.

Petry said his group is working on tighter integration to Google Apps but will continue to offer the security products as an add-on that can be used with competitors' software.

"When we were independent as Postini, we sold a service layer that works with any customer's infrastructure and we will continue to do that with security and archiving that works with Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, SunMail and others."

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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