Building upon its acquisition of Postini last July, Google’s announcement that it would provide additional e-mail security for businesses — including message filtering, encryption and archiving — will help the company’s argument that it can serve enterprise software needs, according to a Google spokesperson and an analyst familiar with the service. The move is also a play to retain Postini customers.
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The Internet giant will provide the service even for businesses not using the Gmail component of Google Apps, the company’s web-based suite of e-mail, calendar, documents and spreadsheets, says Sundar Raghavan, Google’s Product Marketing Manager. As a result, Google will provide security around the most common e-mail systems, including Lotus Notes, Microsoft Exchange and Novell Groupwise.
“Some customers say they’re interested in using Goole Apps, but not interested yet in the whole thing,” says Raghavan. “Some want a more step-by-step approach.”
Google will offer three different components of e-mail security. True to Google Apps form, each service will be provided cheaply. Message filtering, which handles incoming messaging and spam, will cost $3 per user per year; Google message security, which seeks to prevent data leaks over e-mail, costs $12 per user per year; Google message discovery, which works to archive e-mails to make them easily discoverable, rings in at $25 per user per year.
Rebecca Wettemann, a vice president and analyst with Nucleus Research, says the move should help Google win inroads with businesses who like Google for search, archiving and even documents and spreadsheets as a cheaper alternative to more expensive products like Microsoft Office, but who aren’t ready to use a web-based client for e-mail and calendaring.
“It will help broaden their customer base,” Wettemann says. “They want to show enterprises they can work with Google without entrusting their entire messaging architecture to them if they don’t want to.”
But Wettemann says Google still has some hurdles before it can become a big enterprise player, including its sluggish development of an offline mode for Google Apps. “Offline is critical for desktop adoption,” she says. “If I’m on an airplane or my network goes down, I need to be able to write and read documents.”