Google Moves Postini Into Gmail, Reflecting Push Toward Consolidation

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Summary

Google will migrate all Postini email hygiene customers to Gmail infrastructure during 2013. This move underscores its desire to consolidate email operations and eases the transition to enterprise Gmail for Postini customers.

News Analysis

Event

On 15 August 2012, Google announced plans to migrate all Postini Google Message Security (GMS) customers to Google Gmail. After the change, all inbound Postini email will be routed through the native Gmail filtering service, and then pushed to the corporate mailbox. Administration will be through the Google Apps management console. The transition will begin in early 2013 and last 12 months.

Analysis

Google’s email hygiene service Postini ranked low in Gartner’s May 2012 online customer satisfaction survey (see “Magic Quadrant for Secure Email Gateways” ), and this migration may relieve some of that dissatisfaction. Google Apps consistently upgrades its management console to reflect enterprise needs; Postini’s console rarely saw improvements. Gmail’s spam filtering is more aggressive, and in the new system, spam is quarantined in the Gmail inbox. That inbox can be activated to full send/receive capacity in the case of an on-premises email system failure — another feature that Postini lacked.

Google will save on development and operational costs. It will increase familiarity with the Gmail service and reduce switching costs and risk by providing Exchange customers with an alternative Gmail mailbox, integrating the enterprise directory with Gmail, and exposing administrators to the Gmail management console. However, some Exchange shops may dislike the forced changes and seek alternative suppliers such as Microsoft, Symantec, Cisco or Proofpoint.

Current and prospective customers should consider several factors when evaluating this Google action:

  • Email processing will move from in-memory-only processing to a proxy-like store-and-forward architecture.

  • Google will not guarantee in-geography processing, although it is taking steps to comply with European Union regulations.

  • Gmail does not offer the same service-level agreements (SLAs) as Postini services or competitors. It offers a 99.9% uptime SLA, but no spam-filtering or virus-specific SLAs.

  • Some services, such as outbound routing via the Gmail infrastructure, are not expected to be available immediately.

  • For malware filtering, Gmail blocks all executables and has extensive malicious URL data from its primary search business. Postini users who exchange executables via email will have to find alternative methods.

Microsoft is also integrating its cloud-based email hygiene service into on-premises and cloud versions of Exchange and Outlook. As a result, integrated inbound email hygiene services from these two email vendors will be acceptable for most enterprises. Those with more-demanding security requirements should still evaluate independent email security products and services. Specifically, advanced email data loss prevention, protection from targeted phishing attacks and encryption capabilities will require add-on solutions. Microsoft and Google will only gradually improve these functions over the next five years.

Recommendations

Postini customers:

  • Exchange shops should examine Microsoft’s online protection for Exchange service or alternatives.

  • Organizations with more advanced requirements should take this opportunity to consider alternative vendors such as Symantec, Cisco or Proofpoint.

  • Other customers should purge their existing Postini rule set of unnecessary or complex legacy policy in preparation for the transition.

Prospective Google customers

  • Wait until 2Q13 to sign on to this service to allow Google time to address transitional challenges and to build out the complete feature set.

Recommended Reading

Some documents may not be available as part of your current Gartner subscription.

  • “Moving E-Mail and Web Security to the Cloud” — Secure email and gateways delivered as cloud-based services are rapidly maturing, but ideal solutions will also provide incremental security improvements that are not achievable via on-premises solutions. By Peter Firstbrook

  • “Magic Quadrant for Secure Email Gateways” — Google remains one of the market and mind share leaders in the software as a service (SaaS) secure email gateway market; however, its growth has been low because of lackluster innovation and feature development, and meager support. By Peter Firstbrook and Eric Ouellet

© 2012 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartners research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

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