Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

E-Mail Lockdown: Two Surrogate E-Mail Platforms from MessageOne and Mirapoint Can Safeguard Your Network Infrastructure

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

E-Mail Lockdown: Two Surrogate E-Mail Platforms from MessageOne and Mirapoint Can Safeguard Your Network Infrastructure

Article excerpt

SCHOOLS, MUCH LIKE BUSINESSES, are dealing with a software paradox: The more popular a network software platform becomes, the more likely hackers will target it for attack.

Take Microsoft's (www.microsoft.com) Exchange Server. In the world of e-mail software, Exchange has evolved into a highly scalable communications platform since its debut in 1994. In fact, the software's popularity continues to grow. Exchange's installed base will nearly double to 225.2 million electronic mailboxes by 2008, up from 114.2 million this year, predicts Radicati Group Inc. (www.radicati.com) of Palo Alto, CA.

Still, Bill Gates and his customers can't afford to rest on their laurels. All of those electronic mailboxes provide tempting target practice for hackers who design worms, viruses, phishing scams, and other digital attacks. Not by coincidence, the US market for e-mail security will grow to $5.5 billion by 2010, up from $3.7 billion this year, according to Ferris Research (www.ferris.com), a San Francisco-based market research/consulting firm.

Many districts have spent recent years evaluating antivirus, antispam, and encryption solutions. Those can be wise investments, but I advocate going one step further: In addition to maintaining your existing Windows- and Macintosh-based e-mail environments, sprinkle in one or two niche solutions to keep hackers and unscrupulous users off balance.

Getting Started

For starters, knock on Mirapoint Inc.'s (www. mirapoint.com) door. The Sunnyvale, CA-based company designs network appliances based on FreeBSD (Berkeley Software Distribution), a highly reliable operating system whose foundation was developed at the University of California-Berkeley. Mirapoint's network applications can secure traditional e-mail systems--such as Exchange Server, IBM's (www.ibm.com.) Lotus Notes, or GroupWise from Novell (www.novell. com)--or replace them entirely.

At first glance, Mirapoint's product claims appear farfetched. The company says its e-mail systems offer "five nines" (99.999%) reliability, or less than six minutes of unplanned downtime per year. I was skeptical of that claim until I spoke with more than a dozen Mirapoint customers around the country during a CIO road show last year. None of those sources had suffered a significant Mirapoint outage in the past year.

For schools that want to lock down their existing e-mail systems, Mirapoint offers the RazorGate security appliance, a single hardware device that includes spam and virus protection, content filtering, and policy management. …

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