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Verizon Targets Managed Filtering

Verizon Enterprise Solutions announced this morning a partnership with MessageLabs Ltd. to deliver a new managed Web content service for large businesses. The service will help businesses block viruses and spyware and filter Web URLs. (See Verizon Adds Services.)

Features like this on enterprise networks are nothing new. For example, employees at large corporations might find sites like MySpace are inaccessible at work. And anti-virus software has certainly been around for a while as well.

The pitch is that enterprises can get the same features at a lower cost and with less maintenance, since it's all on Verizon-owned hardware and software, says Cindy Bellefeuille, director of security product management for Verizon Business.

Verizon says the new service will also offer features not common in a lot of anti-virus services. In addition to responsive analysis -- the ability to recognize the signatures of already known viruses -- Verizon will use predictive analysis, which the company claims will eliminate the majority of unknown viruses. This predictive technology uses "Skeptic," which is MessageLabs' threat analysis platform.

Customers can order the virus, spyware, and URL filtering together or separately in addition to being able to customize the products. "The enterprise administrator can choose to block nfl.com between the months of September and February only, in order to ensure productivity from its employees," Bellefeuille says.

Verizon is confident that the service will be a success. "We've had extraordinary pre-launch interest," claims La Bellefeuille.

But some industry analysts don't see the appeal. "Verizon isn't breaking any ground with the launch of this service," says Dawn Bushaus, a research analyst for Light Reading Insider. Bushaus points out that many of Verizon's competitors already offer Web filtering services either on their own or through partnerships with MessageLabs.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) stock was down 1.5 percent to $35.94 in afternoon trading today.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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