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MessageLabs nabs Omnipod for IM security

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Net security firm MessageLabs is extending its services beyond email and web filtering with the acquisition of Omnipod, a provider of enterprise instant messaging. The deal, which is subject to shareholder approval, extends MessageLabs’ offering to include managed email, web and instant message services. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

MessageLabs plans to integrate New York-based Omnipod’s fully managed hosted IM service - called Professional Online Desktop (POD) - into its own managed service portfolio. Omnipod's on-demand secure instant messaging service is designed for enterprise use and integrates collaboration features such as persistent chat, global SMS, WebEx online conferencing, Salesforce.com, file sharing and transfer capabilities, as well as various other communications functions into a secure presence-based messaging infrastructure.

It's been a eventful year at MessageLabs with the launch of services including a web scanning service and an email encryption service between enterprises as complements to its core email filtering service. The acquisition of Omnipod comes only a month after the start of the web scanning service. MessageLabs reported revenue of $67m (£36m) for its financial year ending July 2005.

Security vendors are looking to tap into corporate concerns about IM security prompted by new compliance regimes prompted by Sarbanes-Oxley and the like and fears the communication channel might be used as a vector to spread malware. MessageLabs managed IM services will compete with rival services from Postini. Enterprises also have the choice of building their own IM security defences using technology from the likes of CipherTrust, which launch an IM security appliance (called IronIM) last month. ®

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