Microsoft IT Starts Using Exchange Hosted Services

Cast your mind back to the dark ages of 2005. It was three years ago that Microsoft acquired FrontBridge, a hosted -- or managed -- email security service provider in the same mold as Postini and MessageLabs. Since then, Postini was also acquired (by Google), BlackSpider is now part of Websence (via SurfControl), and MessageLabs is definitely not seeking to be acquired (ahem).

The FrontBridge technology was rather confusingly rebranded as Exchange Hosted Services (EHS) and offered to Exchange customers as a natural add-on -- indeed, it comes bundled with the Exchange 2007 Enterprise CAL.

Microsoft IT has always been a key player in the Exchange team's "dogfood" strategy (as in, "We eat our own dogfood"). So it was natural that it should use EHS. It's taken three years, but in June the switch was finally thrown -- EHS is now the first port of call for any Internet email destined for microsoft.com. This may sway some naysayers who argued against a Microsoft monoculture or believed that the company isn't best-placed to decide what is spam and what isn't.

Incidentally, EHS offers a penalty-backed service-level agreement of at least 95% effectiveness and no more than 0.0004% false positives. Using the industry-standard definitions, 0.0004% represents roughly one legitimate message filtered as spam per year for the average business user. We'd love to know if this is representative of EHS' actual accuracy these days -- we know it hasn't been in the past. Please send us your comments in the usual way; if you'd like to remain anonymous, feel free to email me.

... Richi Jennings

One Comment

  1. Anonymous
    Posted August 22, 2008 at 5:22 AM | Permalink

    I’ve been a Frontbridge customer for around 5 years. A few things have gotten better under Microsoft, and some things have gotten worse. They’ve always been good about false positives, which was why we chose them, and I think one a year is about right. What has gotten worse is reliability. They’ve had several problems that delayed mail in the past few months. The main thing that has gotten better is price, but also less spam is coming through.

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