Two security vendors have joined forces to offer a 'comprehensive' Security-as-a-Service offering for enterprises struggling to deal with the growing complexity of security threats, coupled with the fiscal pressures associated with the current economic downturn.

FishNet Security and Optenet announced the strategic partnership agreement to "develop and deliver the industry's most comprehensive Security-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering for enterprises." The agreement will see FishNet's security offerings incorporate Optenet's content filtering technology.

Both companies feel their agreement is timely, citing the fact that enterprises are "increasingly investigating outsourced models for security, primarily due to the low cost-of-ownership and minimal burden it places on internal IT staff."

"The appeal of SaaS is to remove the hardware deployment and maintenance requirements to allow staff to focus on proactively managing security," the companies said.

Security-as-a-service is by no means a new concept. Earlier this month Cisco wheeled out three flavours of email security services, and indeed six months ago PGP became the first company to offer full disk encryption on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription.

But FishNet and Optenet believe that traditional SaaS offerings are "rigid, one-size-fits-all solutions that cannot be tailored to meet the specific needs of a given enterprise." It claims this is not the case with its SaaS offering, as Optenet's solutions are highly customisable - down to the individual user.

"With the current economic climate and the growing complexity of security threats, we've seen an increase in the demand for comprehensive security-as-a-service solutions that offload the expense and management requirements of a traditional on-site security infrastructure," said Gordon Shevlin, executive VP of FishNet Security in a statement.

"Our partnership with Optenet enables us to deliver a service offering that eliminates the need for expensive hardware and provides superior security while also meeting our customers' desire to move security from a capital expense to a operating expense model."

The Optenet-powered FishNet Security offering will provide integrated web filtering, antivirus, antispam, antiphishing, antispyware, malware, peer-to-peer and instant messaging protection.

FishNet is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and seems to be primarily focused on the US market with no offices outside the United States. Optenet on the other hand is based in Madrid, Spain, and has a much more global outlook. Its technology is used by 75 million end users worldwide, including the customers of many of the world's ISPs and mobile operators, as well as staff of global enterprise organisations.