MessageLabs has launched a new version of its hosted web security service, with an emphasis on speed and improved threat detection.

Web Security Services version 2.0 improves the routing of client e-mail, instant messaging and Web traffic through the company's 12 worldwide data centers, MessageLabs said. As a result, MessageLabs has boosted its service-level agreement for availability.

"The traffic goes to the fastest available data centre and it provides automatic network-level failover," said Brian Czarny, vice president of product management.

Unlike some anti-virus companies, MessageLabs uses its own infrastructure to filter a company's e-mail, instant messages and Internet traffic for malicious threats, such as spyware and viruses.

MessageLabs added technology to the service called "Skeptic," which detects viruses, Trojans, spam and phishing attacks. Skeptic is incorporated into what MessageLabs calls a "converged threat analysis," in which threats from one vector, such as a malicious link in an e-mail, can be used to smarten its Web traffic scanning.

"Now you are protected on multiple fronts," claimed Czarny.

Further improvements have been made to the management interface in how services are configured, along with a one-window dashboard for reports on e-mail, instant messaging and Web traffic, Czarny said.

The price for its anti-spyware, antivirus and URL filtering services is US$5 per user per month. The price goes down for a higher number of users and if combined with other e-mail and instant messaging services, Czarny said.