Proofpoint, Inc.

Proofpoint, Inc.

= History =

Infobox Company
name = Proofpoint, Inc.

type = Private
genre =
foundation = 2002
founder =
location_city = Sunnyvale, California
location_country = United States
location =
locations =
area_served =
key_people = Chairman: Eric Hahn
CEO: Gary Steele
CTO: Marcel DePaolis
industry = Security software
products = E-mail filtering
services =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
owner =
num_employees =
parent =
divisions =
subsid =
slogan =
homepage = www.
footnotes =
intl =

Proofpoint, Inc. is an email security and data loss prevention solution vendor based in Sunnyvale, California. The company was founded in June 2002 by Eric Hahn, formerly the CTO of Netscape Communications. It officially launched July 21, 2003, after raising a $7 million series A funding round, releasing its first product, and lining up six customers as references, and was backed by venture investors Mohr, Davidow Ventures, Benchmark Capital), and Stanford University [ [] ] . An additional $9 million in Series B funding led by New York-based RRE Ventures was announced in October, 2003 [ [] ]

The company’s first product was the Proofpoint Protection Server for medium and large businesses. It incorporated what was described as “MLX Technology”, proprietary machine learning algorithms applied to the problem of accurately identifying spam email using 10,000 different attributes to differentiate between spam and valid email. The company joined dozens of other anti-spam software providers [ [] ] in a business opportunity fueled by an exponential increase in spam volume that was threatening worker productivity, making spam a top business priority [ [] ] . According to Information Week’s 2004 National Technology Readiness Survey, the cost of spam in terms of lost productivity had reached $21.58 billion annually [ [] ] .

The first Proofpoint Protection Server product upgrade was announced in November 2003 and expanded the number of spam detection attributes to more than 50,000. [ [] ]

In December 2003, Forrester Research announced the winners of the sixth annual Emerging Technology Showcase awards. Proofpoint was awarded for “Identifying And Dealing With Threats And Nuisances To The Enterprise”. [ [,1769,870,00.html] ]

In 2004, strict new regulations governing financial disclosures and the privacy of health care data prompted Proofpoint to begin developing new products that would automatically identify and intercept outbound email containing sensitive information. [ [] ]

In March, 2004, Proofpoint introduced its first hardware appliance, the P-Series Message Protection Appliance (later renamed Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway), using a hardened Linux kernel and Proofpoint's Protection Server 2.0 software. [ [] ] It was tested by Infoworld and found to stop 94% of spam. [ [] ]

Another product introduction in November, 2004 included Protection Server 3.0, with Email Firewall and MLX-based Dynamic Reputation Analysis, and the Content Security Suite, plug-in modules designed for scanning outbound messages and their attachments to assist in compliance with data protection regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley. In combination, this was known as the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway Appliance. It was reviewed by ChannelWeb [] , which observed that it used a “combination of technologies: policy-based management, a spam-filtering engine and adaptive learning technology”. Implemented by Brown University, in the first 24 hours the Proofpoint system saved 447 Mb of email storage space by blocking 90,000 spam messages. [ [] ] Infoworld reported that a number of companies were broadening their products to address other messaging issues besides spam, such as compliance violations, phishing scams, and viruses. [ [] ]

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign incorporated Proofpoint software into their CITES Spam Control system with positive results. [ [] ] Government Computer News reported that their GCN Lab found the Proofpoint P800 Gateway offered “Maximum control for administrators; highly configurable; optional module prevents e-mailing of classified documents”. [ [] ]

Proofpoint introduced a new product, the Network Content Sentry, as an add-on appliance to the Content Security Suite in August, 2005. [ [] ] Designed to monitor online messaging other than email, the appliance monitors Web mail, message boards, blogs and FTP-based communications. Proofpoint also introduced policy-based email encryption features, using identity-based encryption technology licensed from Voltage Security. [ [] ]

At about the same time, the Zero-Hour Anti-Virus software module was released. It was specifically designed to detect and block new computer viruses before their “signature” is formally identified. [ [] ]

As part of a continuing product expansion related to regulation monitoring, in November, 2005, the Healthcare Privacy Bundle was released as add-on to Messaging Security Gateway appliance. [ [] ]

Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway V4.0 was released in March, 2005, with additional capabilities such as directory harvest attack prevention features and enhancements to the Proofpoint MLX Dynamic Reputation software. [ [] ]

In a step towards simpler operational requirements, the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway Virtual Edition was released in April, 2007. The product runs as a virtual appliance on a host running VMware's virtual server software. [ [] ] Moving a dedicated hardware appliance to a virtual server eliminates problems associated with proprietary hardware and reduces upgrade costs, [ [] ] though it does require knowledge of VMware's virtual server architecture.

Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway V5.0 was released in June, 2007, and was based on a new, integrated architecture, combining all its capabilities into a single platform. [ [] ] It could be run either as a dedicated appliance, virtual appliance, or software suite.

ICSA Labs, an independent division of Verizon Business, announced in April, 2007, that it had certified six anti-spam products under their new testing program, one of which was the Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway. The goal of ICSA Labs' anti-spam product testing and certification is to evaluate product effectiveness in detecting and removing spam. The guidelines also address how well the products recognize e-mail messages from legitimate sources. [ [,345941.shtml] ]

Moving into the software-as-a-service business, Proofpoint introduced Proofpoint on Demand, a hosted version of its email security and data loss prevention offerings. [ [] ] In May, 2008, the company’s hosted offerings were expanded with the introduction of Proofpoint on Demand—Standard Edition. [ [] ] The product is targeted at small-to-medium size businesses that need email security but do not run their own servers or have on-site IT personnel.

In June 2008, Proofpoint acquired Fortiva, Inc., a provider of on-demand email archiving software for legal discovery, regulatory compliance and email storage management. [ [] ]

Overall Timeline

*Jun 2002 Proofpoint, Inc. founded by Eric Hahn

*Jul 2003 Raises $7 million series A funding round

*Oct 2003 $9 million in Series B funding led by New York-based RRE Ventures

*Oct 2003 Stuart Ellman, RRE Ventures general partner, joins Proofpoint's Board of Directors

*Mar 2005 Strategic partnerships with four email encryption vendors

*Mar 2006 Additional $20 million raised in venture capital

*May 2006 Sydney, Australia, office opens

*Feb 2008 Additional $28 million raised from DAG Ventures

*Jun 2008 Proofpoint, Inc. Acquires SaaS Email Archiving Vendor Fortiva, Inc.

*Sep 2008 Gartner positions Proofpoint in the Leaders quadrant in the 2008 Magic Quadrant for Email Security Boundaries [ [,539673.shtml] ]

Technology Timeline (product releases)

*Jul 2003 Launches first product, Proofpoint Protection Server software

*Nov 2003 Product upgrade incorporates MLX Learning Technology

*Mar 2004 Introduces first appliance, P-Series Message Protection Appliance

*Nov 2004 Protection Server 3.0 with Email Firewall and MLX-based Dynamic Reputation Analysis

*Nov 2004 Content Security Suite, plug-in modules for digital asset security and regulation monitoring

*Mar 2005 Proofpoint provides hosted anti-spam services

*Aug 2005 Network Content Sentry introduced as add-on appliance to Content Security Suite along with Secure Messaging (email encryption) software module

*Sep 2005 Zero-Hour Anti-Virus software module released

*Nov 2005 Healthcare Privacy Bundle released as add-on to Messaging Security Gateway appliance

*Mar 2006 Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway V4.0 released

*Apr 2007 Messaging Security Gateway Virtual Edition is released

*Jun 2007 Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway V5.0 released

*Aug 2007 Proofpoint On Demand is released

*May 2008 Proofpoint On Demand—Standard Edition is released, Proofpoint Secure File Transfer software module released

*Jun 2008 Proofpoint On Demand Email Archiving is released

Description of Products and Services

Proofpoint’s product line is available in four different deployment form factors:

Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway messaging security appliance, available in a variety of models for both large enterprises and SMBs

Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway Virtual Edition messaging security virtual appliance for VMware Infrastructure.

Proofpoint Protection Server software for Linux

Proofpoint on Demand hosted email security and data loss prevention service

Add-on modules that address various email security or data loss prevention issues include:

Proofpoint Spam Detection for defense against spam, adult content and phishing attacks. For connection management, Proofpoint Dynamic Reputation and netMLX technology are also offered.

Proofpoint Virus Protection™ defends against email-borne viruses, worms, trojansand other forms of malicious code.

Proofpoint Zero-Hour Anti-Virus protects against emerging viruses before anti-virus signatures are available

Proofpoint Content Compliance for defining and enforcing acceptable use policies for message content and attachments

Proofpoint Digital Asset Security for protecting sensitive digital assets andconfidential information from leaking outside the organization via email.

Proofpoint Regulatory Compliance for detecting protected health information, protected financial information and other sensitive content in outbound messages

Proofpoint Secure Messaging for policy-based encryption functionality.

Proofpoint Network Content Sentry extends Proofpoint’s content security and policy enforcement features to web-based email, blog and message board postings, FTP and other message streams.

Proofpoint Smart Search is a separate appliance that adds message tracing, forensics and log analytics features

Proofpoint Secure File Transfer adds secure, large file transfer capabilities.


* [ San Jose Business Journal, Jul 18, 2003]
* [ San Jose Business Journal, Oct 14, 2003]
* [ San Jose Business Journal, Jul 18, 2003]
* [ InformationWeek Research's Outlook 2004 Survey]
* [ Information Week, Feb 3, 2005]
* [ Network World, Nov 3, 2003]
* [,1769,870,00.html Forrester Press Release, Dec 12, 2003]
* [ Technology Review, Mar 2004]
* [ Network World, Mar 2004]
* [ InfoWorld, May 2004]
* [ ChannelWeb, Nov 2004]
* [ Brown Daily Herald, Apr 2008]
* [ Infoworld, Nov 2004]
* [ News Bureau, Mar 2005]
* [ Government Computer News, Apr 2005]
* [ eWeek, Aug 2005]
* [ Network World, Aug 2005]
* [ Network World, Sep 2005]
* [ CMP TechWeb Compliance Pipeline, Nov 2005]
* [ Information Week, Mar 2006]
* [ ChannelWeb, Apr 2007]
* [ Network World, Apr 2007]
* [ CMP ByteandSwitch, Jun, 2007]
* [,345941.shtml Earth Times, Apr 2007]
* [ NetworkWorld, Aug 2008]
* [ ebiz, May 2008]
* [ Reuters, Jun 2008]
* [ Reuters, Sep 2008]

External links

* [ Proofpoint, Inc. corporate website]
* [ Fortiva Inc. corporate website]
* [ Proofpoint Research References - Email Security]

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