Postini Security Services
Frequently Asked Questions
Postini website: www.postini.com
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Q: What are Postini’s email security
A: Postini provides a comprehensive suite of web-managed
services for protecting enterprise email systems from
spam, viruses, directory harvest attacks and other types of email-borne
attacks. Our services also enable
administrators to more effectively monitor and manage their email
systems, regardless of server vendor type,
hardware platform or location.
Q: What type of anti-spam technology does
Postini use to filter spam?
A: Postini’s anti-spam engine is based on
our own patent-pending technology that utilizes thousands of heuristics-based
expressions designed to check specific parts of every message –
from the IP level through the message content. Postini is able to
analyze all text and HTML parts of each message.
Q: How does Postini differ from other solutions?
A: In order to thwart reference database methodologies
that match incoming messages to “spam profiles” that
are based on previously received spam messages, spammers find creative
ways to make each spam message
look unique. Since Postini’s anti-spam engine analyzes the
content of each and every message on its individual
characteristics– even if it doesn’t fit the profile
of previous spam messages – we are able to catch more junk
Q: What type of anti-virus technology does
Postini use to filter viruses?
A: Postini email security services incorporate
virus-filtering tools from McAfee® Security, a leading virus
protection software company. Our anti-virus capabilities deliver
the ultimate defense against the ravages of viruses, worms, and
other malicious code, before they have a chance to unleash their
destructive payloads into your network. Postini supplements core
AV engines with additional processing to recognize specific MIME
characteristics, message fragments, and more.
Q: How do Postini services work?
A: Through simple DNS modification, all email messages
intended for a company’s mail servers flow through Postini
for real-time pre-processing before delivery to an end-users “inbox.”
If junk mail or virus-infected messages are detected, the messages
can be tagged, delivered to an alternate mailbox or directed to
a password-protected quarantine area for review and disposition.
Q: Does Postini’s processing delay message
A: Unlike other ‘store and forward’
solutions using standard email server technology; with Postini,
processed in real-time – literally within milliseconds –
so there is no detectable latency. Postini regularly
instruments elapsed time of email flow through the process to ensure
we are meeting the performance
requirements of our customers.
Q: How is this process secure? Is there exposure
to individual email messages?
A: Legitimate messages are not written to disk.
Postini’s patent-pending email processing technology allows
messages to be processed in real-time as the packets flow through
the Postini servers. This ensures that Postini does not expose customer
data to hackers or potential loss of data. Postini’s filters
process all email with no direct human contact with mail flow or
individual messages. Mail messages are processed within milliseconds
and immediately passed through to the customer’s mail server.
In the case of suspicious email, the message can be broken down
into sections with a hashed file name and then directed to a secure,
private, web-hosted quarantine (Message Center). Password-protected
personal message centers are assigned to each email user for reviewing
suspicious email. Some customers choose to have a collective message
center that is assigned to a designated administrator, or for Postini
to ‘tag and deliver’ suspicious messages.
Q: Is Postini less secure than software or
hardware installed behind the firewall?
A: No. Starting with our message processing architecture
and our network layout and access control, Postini
ensures that customer data is safe and secure. Software processes
handle messages in real-time; access
between machines is tightly regulated; and redundancy across the
clusters is deployed to ensure high availability. Postini performs
regular vulnerability assessments to ensure that our measures for
securing customer data are state of the art.
Q: What are the advantages of deploying email
security as a web managed service?
A: Because Postini’s protection begins at
the place of origin of spam and viruses – the Internet –
we are able to
catch suspicious email before it reaches a company’s network.
In addition, we are uniquely able to intercept
Directory Harvest Attacks (DHAs) (used to steal or harvest email
addresses), which can only be done in the SMTP connection stream
at the Internet gateway. Unlike solutions that are deployed at the
network gateway or at the workgroup server, we are able to keep
networks and servers free of malicious attacks and bandwidth-hogging
junk email. In addition, network delivered managed services are
typically a more cost-effective solution. Unlike software or appliance
solutions, Postini services require virtually no integration and
can be deployed in as little as a few days. Once deployed there
is minimal maintenance required and updates are made automatically,
at no extra charge. Costs are more predictable, since they’re
based on a consistent monthly fee. Our services pose little financial
risk – customers pay a predictable monthly fee and services
can be discontinued just a quickly as they are deployed, with no
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