Tuesday 8 April 2008

Trend Micro's Hybrid Hosted Service (RSA)

Trend Micro takes an unusual approach with its hosted ("managed"; "in-the-cloud") email security service. Rather than trying to do everything, it sticks to what a service is good at.

Trend is applying the Pareto principle (a.k.a. "80/20 rule"). The company promotes a "hybrid" approach, with the hosted service implementing only a first level of spam filtering based on reputation -- filtering roughly 80% of the inbound spam. The remaining email is passed on to spam filtering appliances on the customers' premises, to deal with the other 20%.

The on-premise appliance can therefore more easily be customized to conform to local policy. When it comes to filtering spam using content, it's best to have an understanding of the types of legitimate content that the organization sends and receives -- the obvious example is medical organizations, who may well expect to receive email about a certain blue pill who's name begins with 'V'.

Of course, organization-specific customization ''can'' be done in the cloud -- there's nothing intrinsic about it that forces it to be on-premise, but this split in responsibilities seems like it has merit.

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