SurfControl touts MessageLabs alternative in Oz

SurfControl today opened its first datacentre in Australia -- its 10th in the world -- to reach a market the company's executives see as ripe for on-demand Web and e-mail security.

SurfControl today opened its first datacentre in Australia -- its 10th in the world -- to reach a market the company's executives see as ripe for on-demand Web and e-mail security.

Visiting Sydney for the launch was founder of Black Spider Technologies, John Cheney, who is now the executive vice president of SurfControl.

Last year, Surf Control acquired BlackSpider for US$36 million, giving it the technologies to become a player in the growing hosted Web and e-mail security market.

Cheney said that poor bandwidth is behind the quicker than usual uptake of on-demand security in Australia. Of the one billion e-mails SurfControl processes around the world each day, 800 million are spam.

"Given that you've got such limited bandwidth, why would you fill it up with spam? Having to process that locally is an overhead. We guarantee we won't send a virus or spam and the service is available 99.9 percent of the time," he said.

Cheney said the company had signed up 300 customers to its on-demand service since it commenced offering the service three months ago. Growth for its business in Australia and the Asia Pacific region is second only to Europe.

"Another reason we have had success [in Australia] is the want in the market for an alternative to MessageLabs," he told ZDNet Australia.

Cheney said that BlackSpider Technologies was offering e-mail security before Postini and MessageLabs existed.

"Our technology platform is second generation. It was the BlackSpider Team that pioneered e-mail security as a service in 1998 and the technology platform we have today is based on nine years experience".

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