E-mail security outfit Postini upgraded its data centers Monday to enhance administrative spam-blocking capabilities to its service. The company uses its data centers to act as a buffer between enterprise e-mail servers and the rest of the world, filtering out junk e-mail and passing the rest onto its customer.

Perimeter Manager 5.0, the latest version of its e-mail intrusion prevention system, adds features that free administrators of much of the hassle in dealing with spam while giving individual users more control over their settings. Users and administrators access the software through a Web-based console that ties in with Postini's data centers, which are located in Chicago and Santa Clara, Calif., and are managed by the local telephone companies or the data center Equinix.

To improve its spam-fighting functions and reduce the number of false positives (spam that really isn't spam but legitimate e-mail), Postini added dynamic IP blocking to Perimeter Manager 5.0, which blocks or allows incoming messages dependent on their rating. If a message receives a high enough rating, it's passed to the customer's e-mail server; if not, it's sent to the customer's quarantine folder, where administrators make the final determination on whether the message is spam or not.

''It's all about finding new ways of weighting and scoring the messages or connections we receive based on recent prior behavior,'' said Andrew Lochart, Postini director of product marketing. ''This is enabled because we're a service. Because we're cloud-handling so much traffic for so many customers, we can draw these statistically meaningful conclusions about what's going on.''

Officials and developers are so confident in their ability to make guaranteed decisions about what makes a message spam and what doesn't, they've added another new capability: a blatant spam option that immediately deletes the message instead of going into quarantine.

A revamped administrative console lets administrators for the first time delegate filtering settings at the user level. The console also filters content based on company policies and compliance requirements.

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