Omniva Policy Systems this week announced its first products, including software meant to provide for secure, encrypted email communications without making users take any additional steps to send or receive mail.

That's what Omniva calls "deployable security."

"You probably won't use an email security product if it makes sending mail any more difficult," says John Dawes, vice president of product marketing for the firm, based in San Francisco.


Omniva's Policy Manager Enterprise Edition is software that runs on a Windows 2000 server, with a client portion that runs on each user's desktop -- although the client component is not required to merely read messages encrypted by the Policy Manager.

The product enables enforcement of company email policies, such as those regarding confidentiality, retention, copying and forwarding of mail messages. The client software is required for those policies to be enforced on the desktop as user's send email.

The product works by taking an email message, encrypting it and packaging it in an HTML format. When the recipient receives the message, a .NET transaction is triggered to retrieve a key from the Policy Manager that is used to decrypt the message. The key is only delivered if no policies have been broken. For example, if a message is not to be forwarded, the key will be delivered to the original intended recipient, but not to anyone else.

The system works with any HTML-compatible email client. That means users can send secure email to customers, business partners and others outside the company and still have policies apply.

Administrators can define policies that dictate when messages expire, which ones must be archived, and for how long. Policies can also prevent messages from being printed or copied, including by cutting and pasting. The policies can apply to individuals or groups, and certain users can be given the option to change policies, such as to archive a given message for a year instead of the usual six months.

Omniva also announced Policy Manager Wireless Gateway, which is software that applies the same policy-based security supported by the Enterprise product to users of Blackberry handheld wireless devices.

Both products are available now. The server components cost $15,000 each. Client software costs $75 per client for the Enterprise Edition and $75 per client for the wireless version.