Synergy beats the virus barrage

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The Synergy Group, one of the UK’s largest recruitment consultancies, has stopped over 5000 viruses in the last nine months – that’s one in every 23 e-mails.

The group is using MessageLabs’ unique Virus Control Centre to filter incoming e-mail before it passes through corporate boundaries. The service works by unwrapping and rewrapping every e-mail and attachment, including the thousands of CVs sent and received, each day. The system passes every e-mail through four anti-virus programmes, with signature updates automatically performed every 10 minutes. The Virus Control Centre has no discernible impact on delivery times (an average e-mail takes 1.2 seconds to process) and has never let a known virus through to its destination.

With an annual turnover of £20 million, Synergy works with clients such as RailTrack, Colt Telecom and Level 3. Consultants in London, Birmingham and Manchester send and receive over 30,000 e-mails a month, including CVs and correspondence.

“We’ve been able to put our faith, as well as our customers’ well-being, in this ground-breaking technology,” said Rory Angus, IT manager at Synergy.

“Internet security is an increasingly important issue, particularly because reputation and service excellence are everything in our industry. We need to ensure our own systems are secure, but it’s also essential that we are not passing on viruses to clients and customers. They are alerted to any virus problems within their own systems which they might not otherwise have been aware of,” continued Angus.

“It’s staggering to see these figures, when normally we find that one in every 1,500 e-mails contains a virus,” said Mark Sunner, technical director at MessageLabs. “It is undoubtedly happening because people are sending CVs from home, from web mail accounts, and old PCs that may be infected themselves. The scale of this cannot be underestimated, and just goes to show that you can’t put all your trust in a local area network anti-virus system.”

MessageLabs is the first company of its kind to offer e-mail protection and virus screening to other ISPs, to protect their customers from Internet security threats. The Virus Control Centre, developed in-house, is capable of scanning over ten million e-mails a day.

MessageLabs is an Application Service Provider (ASP) specialising in centralised Internet messaging services. The company was established in 1999 with the development team from Star Internet that has been responsible for a host of award-winning products including Netstar and NetTools, which won Internet product of the year in 1997 and 1999 respectively.

MessageLabs’ flagship product is the Virus Control Centre which scans millions of e-mails every day and is sold through Internet Service Providers to an international user base. MessageLabs’ partners include UUNET, one of the world’s largest ISPs, and users include BOC and Manpower.

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