Computer Associates International plans to ship security and policy-enforcement software this year to fight viruses and spam, filter web content, and block peer-to-peer file sharing.

CA's eTrust Secure Content Management marks the first time CA has sought to integrate security for the web, email and file transfers into one software package. The software will run on Windows platforms and will include CA's desktop antivirus product.

Ian Hameroff, CA's business manager for security solutions, said eTrust Secure Content Management would cost US$55 per seat, but only half that for users of CA's antivirus products that want to upgrade.

"That does sound appealing, and we're going to take a look at it and see if it works in our environment," says Dave Lydick, Windows NT administrator at a Pennsylvania-based retail chain which uses the CA eTrust antivirus products. His company has over 7,500 employees and 270 stores.

"We're going to be a beta customer because we do want to do content filtering, especially the peer-to-peer (P2P) applications like Kazaa," says Lydick. "P2P poses the danger of copyright violations. We'd like to be able to set a policy in place at the gateway and try to stop P2P use."

The management console for eTrust Secure Content Management will "give a bird's-eye view" of the antispam, antivirus and content-filtering activity through the gateway, said Hameroff. "There will also be a user self-service [feature] so the user can decide which e-mails are spam and which are not when the mail is blocked and held at the gateway."

This will alleviate the need for the administrator to look at all the quarantined mail, said Hameroff, adding the Secure Content Management reports can be set up to be delivered to the administrator on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Hameroff declined to say how many messages eTrust Secure Content Management might be able to process per hour to filter out spam or malicious code, noting that the product was still under development and wouldn’t ship until nearer the end of 2003. But he said that CA itself, with 16,000 employees, was now beta-testing the product.