IronPort Systems, a Cisco business unit, has unveiled new data-loss prevention and encryption capabilities for its email security appliances.

These new features, which are being integrated into IronPort’s AsyncOS operating system for its email security appliances, are designed to help enterprises more easily protect their sensitive information, according to company officials.

Unlike dedicated data-loss prevention products that require separate software and/or hardware, AsyncOS’ new features add leak protection to the existing security features of IronPort’s email appliances, which provide spam and virus filtering as well as policy creation, content scanning, quarantining and archiving.

The new data-loss prevention features include content-scanning capabilities with keyword and smart-identifier matching, as well as regulatory and customised dictionaries. Content that is scanned includes email message bodies plus hundreds of attachment types, including Microsoft Office documents, they say. Options for outbound messages that contain sensitive information include quarantine, encryption, archive and notify, and can be managed by IronPort’s Email Security Manager tool.

With this enhancement to AsyncOS, IronPort has added its PXE encryption technology directly on to its applications, so that inbound and outbound email can be encrypted and decrypted without the need of additional hardware, officials say.

“Encrypting sensitive data that’s classified as such is one of the most important things that [data-loss prevention] products can do,” says Nick Selby, senior analyst and director of The 451 Group’s enterprise security practice.

Recipients of encrypted messages can decrypt email without having to install proprietary software or using particular email clients, they say. Message credentials are managed by the Cisco Registered Email Service.

Administrators can also set policies regarding which outbound communications should be encrypted and have those policies implemented by the appliance.

The new features to AsyncOS are available now, but prices were not disclosed.