Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
Peter Stephenson, technology editor, SC Magazine
Email is the grease that makes today's business run smoothly. Protecting the integrity of email, as well as protecting the enterprise from damage caused by rogue email, is the topic of this month's Group Tests.

The first group is a shrinking category that we have usually called email security. While the content management category has exploded, the email security category has shrunk to almost nothing. This is another example of the convergence that we are seeing in virtually all security market segments.

The larger second group comprises what we have traditionally called email content management. However, as you will see, that term really doesn't go far enough. Today's email gateway software and appliances do more than they did a year or so back.

Convergence here makes a lot of sense beyond saving money. In some cases, we find that we need to change the architecture of the enterprise to compensate for a loss of defense-in-depth, while gaining a single point of failure. In the case of email security, we gain by converging all email security services into a simple, single gateway.

Anti-spam, phishing, anti-malware and other functions all need to address each piece of email that enters and, often, leaves the enterprise. Additionally, a central point of email control – encryption, for example – is a benefit.

Even the best of us occasionally get caught up in point solutions to perceived point problems. We begin to forget that there are no point problems in the enterprise that act in isolation. Everything touches everything else. It's the enterprise butterfly effect.

So the answer is to buy a device that addresses everything you need in email protection today with a reasonable amount of forward thinking to accommodate the future. Then remember that a gateway acts as an email choke point and plan for scalability. Finally, consider redundancy and how you will implement it at the email gateway.