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Keeping email in the right hands.

Although email has been a boon to communication, it can also be an open window for tech-savvy snoops and miscreants. More users are realizing that it pays to scan messages for potential viruses, but sometimes a quick code glance isn’t enough. Steve Raber, president and COO of Atlanta-based CipherTrust talks about why his company believes that emailers should lock down before they log on.

Why was the decision made to start a company devoted to email security?

CipherTrust was founded in March 2000 by Jay Chaudry and Lawrence Hughes, who wanted to build on a foundation of expertise in security applications and high performance e-mail systems. To do this, they built our flagship product, IronMail, which is an application-specific security appliance that integrates hardware and pre-configured software to secure every aspect of a company’s email system.

Do you think companies are beginning to realize the value of email security in their enterprises?

Absolutely. Clearly, companies are being forced to not only redefine but also broaden their scope of what constitutes a threat to the privacy and productivity of their institutions. All of us are much more sensitive to all types of security: physical, financial, IT, and e-mail security. That’s where we come in. We’ve signed more than 120 customers, many Fortune 500 companies, in the past 12 months. If that doesn’t prove that there is a heightened sense of security in the enterprise, I’m not sure what would.

Are there still some areas of security that companies might not be thinking about, or may be overlooking?

The aggressive trendsetters in business have been very cognizant of two very important issues that have been overlooked in the recent past. First is the critical nature of the gateway. It’s quite simple; you have to stop the bad stuff from getting in and poisoning your corporate environment. Second is spam, which is not a security threat in the strictest sense, but the security team is ideally equipped to deal with it, especially if they have implemented a solid gateway security program.

There are a number of security firms in the marketplace, so how does CipherTrust distinguish itself?

While many firms have concentrated on Web security, we’ve staked out a solid leadership position in email security. We know messaging. We know security. Why not stick to what we know best right now rather than trying to overextend ourselves? We leave the Web security to the Web security experts. Also, we are taking a very different tack on our market space, and having tremendous success doing that. We’re looking at email as a whole, staking out the gateway as the most important piece of real estate in the enterprise, and securing the gateway better than the competition.

Are there products or areas that CipherTrust is investigating for the future?

We want to continue helping our customers satisfy legislative requirements like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; this is something we are very focused on. Mainly, though, we’ll continue to concentrate on what we know best — securing the enterprise email gateway. Of course, we’ll explore, investigate and find solutions for those unsolved problems at the gateway that need to be solved. It will probably make sense at some point for CipherTrust to include instant messaging, wireless and other communication media into its plans. But we can move in whatever direction we determine, because we have a development team that has the ability to react as soon as we identify a need.

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