While spam is still a problem, it's not growing at the same rate it once was and my actually be on the decline, according to Cisco. In contrast, targeted attacks are on the rise which has led to the creation of new email security services that Cisco is officially announcing today.

The Cisco Business Class Email solution takes aim at the new era of threats with authentication and filtering technologies that protect against targeted attacks and provide user authentication capabilities.

"Cisco Business Class Email is an appliance based solution and it's pretty cool, we use it internally," Cisco spokesperson Omar Sultan told InternetNews.com. "It has single sign-on, secure forwarding and it's platform independent so it works with your smartphone, laptop and desktop to get consistent security capabilities."


Sultan explained that the Cisco Business Class Email offering includes an appliance as well as a cloud based service.

"It's an existing product and what we've done is role out an update for spear phishing," Sultan said.

Spear phishing is a targeted email or spam campaign launched against a specific group or company in an attempt to reveal information or trick a users to click on a malicious link. Sultan noted that spear phishing is not the kind of thing that traditional email filtering has been able to block.

The Cisco Business Class Email solution is not related to the Cisco Email solution which was once known as Cisco WebEx Mail. Cisco Mail was a hosted solution built on top of the PostPath Linux email solution. Earlier this year, Cisco announced that it was terminating the Cisco Email service. In contrast the Business Class Email solution has its roots in Cisco's Ironport security division and includes hardware and cloud services.

Cisco released a study earlier this month that revealed a decline in mass spam attacks. Cisco's research found that revenues from mass based email attacks brought in $1.1 billion in June 2010 and have declined to $500 million in June 2011. In contrast, Cisco is seeing a rise in targeted attacks with which now cost global organizations $1.29 billion annually.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.