Service Providers have not had much choice when it comes to choosing a hosted email platform to offer their customers. The major players in the market are of course Microsoft, with its Exchange platform, with varying versions depending on the target size of the business, and IBM with its Notes / Domino platform. Of course, for the more technically inclined email administrator, there has always been a selection of Unix-based solutions, offering various levels of functionality, ‘polish’ and support.
One of the more prominent of these Unix-based solutions is Zimbra, which offers full groupware functionality in both free and licensed versions, along with support offerings and a proven track record. Zimbra is used by large businesses, educational establishments and service providers around the globe, with over 50 million paid mailboxes.
Zimbra’s recent acquisition by VMware will bring an interesting shift in email platform choice with an offering that should meet most groupware needs ‘out of the box’, without requiring in-depth configuration and Unix knowledge; potentially a credible alternative to Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino. As a virtual appliance, it also becomes very easy for a service provider to offer a virtual instance per customer, removing many of the concerns that business customers have around data privacy – a key blocking point in large, shared platform solutions such as Microsoft Exchange.
However, the Zimbra Collaboration Suite Virtual Appliance may not meet all groupware needs because email security and hygiene is a key requirement for any mail platform. While Zimbra ships with some open source tools for antivirus (ClamAV) and anti-spam (SpamAssassin & DSpam), these measures are simply not enough to ensure that unwanted messages do not enter the mail system, infecting users, stealing data and potentially affecting business continuity.
In order to ensure that messages are scanned for malware, malicious content and spam using the most up-to-date technologies, try combining Zimbra Collaboration Suite Virtual Appliance with a VMware Ready for Mail Security Virtual Appliance, such as the Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security Virtual Appliance, also available from the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace. This will allow your business customers to scan messages both in and outbound from their virtual Zimbra instance for malicious emails, as well as allowing granular content security rules to be created. Combining a mail platform with a default option for security is a compelling upsell opportunity to your customers…
And while you are there, you may want to check out Trend Micro’s other virtual appliances – to help you secure your customers web traffic, encrypt your customers email traffic, prevent data leakage… 😉