McAfee aims at small firms with e-mail service

With its service, the company says, spam is quarantined before it enters the customer's network.

McAfee on Monday unveiled a new security service designed to let small companies outsource their e-mail security to the antivirus software maker.

Managed Mail Protection is a spam-filtering service that can detect and quarantine infected e-mails before they enter a customer's network, the security company said. Subscribers to the service can obtain detailed information on quarantined e-mails via Web-based management reports.

The software maker said the service uses six levels of rules-based protection, in addition to screening for viruses in incoming and outgoing messages. Among the strategies the service uses are heuristic detection, which means that the service poses questions about each e-mail to help determine whether it is spam. The service also examines each message's header, layout and organization. And McAfee relies on Bayesian filtering, which is the process of using Bayesian statistical methods, such as analyzing the number of occurrences of certain words, to judge whether an e-mail is legitimate correspondence.

Additionally, customers can define their own lists of senders they want to block or allow.

"The service is automated and transparent, so there is no need for additional management or personnel to monitor e-mail traffic," Steve Crutchfield, director of product marketing at McAfee, said in a statement. "This helps businesses save time and money on their IT security."

McAfee and its rival Symantec have been beefing up their arsenal of antivirus and antispam services, as attacks by worms like Bagle frequently hit enterprise networks and home computers.

Pricing information on Managed Mail Protection was not available.