Postini Changes: What it Means for MSPs

Scott Calonico

If you, or one of your clients, is among the 26 million people who use Google’s Postini email security services, you may be aware that changes are afoot.

 

Postini is an email security and archival product, which was purchased by Google in 2007. Up until now, it has continued to operate as before, albeit under Google’s banner. In 2013, however, Google is retiring the product, which will force users to migrate to the Google Apps platform.

Google clearly doesn’t wish to panic Postini users, and is at great pains to emphasize an easy transition, as well as the fact that Google Apps can integrate with Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes.

In reality, however, it’s not necessarily that simple. According to cNet News, there will be no replacement for the mail filtering services provided by Postini. In addition, at the time of writing, there are no firm details as to exactly how message encryption will work after the migration.

Pricing may also be an issue. Although Google state that some services will remain at their existing prices, there are mentions of price increases in certain scenarios when you look, in detail, at the FAQs relating to the migration.

One thing is for certain: if you or your clients use Postini, you are facing some migration work next year. With this in mind, perhaps it is time to look at the marketplace for email security and archiving products? You may not wish to be forced to work with Google Apps, especially if you are already maintaining Exchange or Notes servers.

Here are a few things to consider when you evaluate new products and services:

Longevity

If you are considering cloud-based services, are you confident they will remain in operation? If a Google product with 26 million users can be retired, the same could happen to anything. It’s certainly a relevant question to ask.

Migration

How straightforward will it be to migrate from Postini to a new service? Will it be more of less complex than the migration to Google apps?

Functionality

You will need to make sure a replacement system does all you need it to. If, for example, Google Apps doesn’t replicate the message filtering functionality that you use, moving away from Google altogether may be a necessity rather than an option.

User Transition

Regardless of your strategy, users will have to be transitioned to a new archival system, which will be disruptive and have training implications. When considering a replacement product, it makes sense to compare the user experience of other products with what can be expected from Google Apps.

What this Means for MSPs

The discontinuation of Postini has thrown some mandatory work in the direction of thousands of businesses and IT consultants, but as an MSP, you shouldn’t see this as a bad thing.

At a basic level, it probably means some consultancy revenue, but it also provides the opportunity to make sure that customers migrate to the perfect archival and security platform. Just make sure you keep track of Google’s information updates to give yourself time to plan.