As software as a service (SaaS) pioneer MessageLabs celebrates its tenth birthday, security giant McAfee made moves to restate its own credentials in the space today.
MessageLabs has been fighting malware from and in the cloud before SaaS was even common parlance, and its Policy Based Encryption service has just received the sought-after UK Government's Mark of Approval (CCT Mark), the firm's third service to do so.
Since then, the service provider has seen a host of more traditional competitors begin to offer their own hosted services, and was itself snapped up by security giant Symantec only last year.
Not to be outdone then, and with perfect timing, Symantec arch-rival McAfee decided to stake its claim as number one SaaS security provider with a grand strategy announcement and product news in the space.
When you read through all the marketing spin however, there's very little actual news. The firm talks about 50 per cent cost savings, of industry-leading technology and the most diverse range of products available today, but in terms of anything new, there are just a few enhancements to its Total Protection integrated endpoint offering.
McAfee security expert Sal Viveros said that the cloud-based delivery model allows IT administrators to use a centralised online console to set policies, which are then automatically pushed out to all users.
"You can get up and running in minutes," he added. "Users click on a link to install the service, and system updates are done whether the user is connected to the corporate network or not."
The service also benefits from global intelligence captured from each endpoint agent which can be used to build up superior knowledge of the threat landscape and ultimately keep endpoints better protected, according to Viveros.
"The most important thing for customers is that it lowers costs and drives efficiencies," he said. "For years customers who don't have the time or resources have been asking us for security-as-a-service, but with the current economic conditions we're getting more and more interest."
Whether you go with one of the big two or one of the smaller vendors who are increasingly occupying this space, however, the SaaS model will be here to stay long after the recession has done its work.
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