Qwest has added anti-virus and anti-spam to its business-VPN service.

The AVAS gateway service guards companies against unsolicited email, viruses, worms and unwanted content. The managed service offers an online portal that lets users control thresholds, reporting, filtering and account preferences.

Customers configuring their mail exchange record to point to a Qwest-specified network mail-exchange record where all e-mail is filtered through AVAS and then forwarded to the user.

Qwest joins other carriers entering the email security market. In August, XO Communications announced an email security and disaster-recovery service that identifies junk email, denial-of-service attacks and viruses.

BellSouth in April produced a service that lets its business-DSL customers encrypt outgoing email. AT&T offers encryption on its client software for its Business Internet dial-up service, and Verizon has an email encryption service for businesses.