MessageLabs, an integrated messaging and web security provider, is entering into the small business market with the launch of its Small Business Solution.

The email security firm claims the product will address the challenges of small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), such as limited IT resources, smaller budgets, lack of staff with security expertise and the increasing sophistication of threats.

According to the security firm, the package is simple to install and requires minimal management, suiting the small business market. The solution aims to protect companies against email and web threats including viruses, spam, phishing attacks and spyware, as well as URL filtering for setting and enforcing corporate web-usage policies.

Jos White, MessageLabs president, said: "Security has a direct impact on every critical part of a business including reputation, productivity and business continuity and unfortunately small businesses do not receive a proportionately smaller threat, in fact they face a greater volume with fewer resources to tackle it."

New research from MessageLabs shows that small businesses receive almost twice as much spam than medium-sized companies and 30 percent more than large organizations. The report also found that spam continued to rise this month, peaking at 74 percent of all email traffic - its highest level since early 2005.

Brian Czarny, vice president of product management at MessageLabs, said: "Spam and phishing are the biggest threats to small companies and we will continue to see the levels of spam grow leading up to Christmas."

"Small businesses face the same challenges as large companies but have fewer resources to fight them. But, they are not getting the support from managed services, so it makes sense for us to enter into this area to take the burden away from small organizations," he said.

However, he said that next year, small businesses will increasingly face web-based security threats, such as spyware.

"In 2007, more attention will be needed to tackle web threats to SMEs. At the moment, there is not much focus on web security, this is mainly a concern for large companies. But, next year small organizations will need to start protecting end users against downloadable threats such as trojans and other spyware," he said.