This year marks the 5-year anniversary since Google shut down all of Postini’s web services and folded the service’s users into Google Apps. It was a complicated time, and while a number of other solutions have sprouted up in the years since Postini’s disappearance, the road to better email—protection from spam and malware, not to mention strong archiving capabilities—is still complicated for many.

Back in 2005, Postini was processing 2.5 billion emails weekly across 10 data centers, and was already the dominant player in email security. Even Hormel Foods—the company that makes Spam (as in the canned meat)—was using Postini to save its employees the hassle of manually dealing with spam and other unwanted email. In 2007, Google acquired Postini for $625 million in what Postini CEO Quentin Gallivan called “a perfect fit.” Both companies insisted that Postini would operate somewhat independently, and offer its services to business that didn’t use Google for email and messaging.

By 2011, Postini had 26 million users and the number of processed emails doubled. It seemed like Postini was only going to continue growing under Google’s tutelage (and money). Google had a different plan, however, and decided to shut down the service and shift Postini users to Google Apps. The company said that there was “feature parity” between Postini and Google Apps, which meant that Postini wasn’t necessary any more.

The scramble for another solution

Google worked hard to make the transition from Postini to Google Apps as simple as possible, and even let many companies continue using their on-premises solution, like Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes, for a period of time. Many businesses happily moved to Google Apps, but others wanted to keep an independent email security solution. Enter the race for a Postini alternative.

In the months after the shutdown announcement, and even well after the end of service, many businesses scrambled to find another solution that would work for them. There was Proofpoint, Mimecast, and Barracuda, to name a few, and here at Bi101, we helped transition hundreds of customers away from Postini and to a different product that worked better for them. While many businesses like integrated services across the board, when it comes to security, many others took comfort in just a little bit of siloing.

Proofpoint was a clear winner at the time as far as our customers were telling us, to the point where we even started to see Proofpoint suffer scaling issues due to their growing userbase. Our customers were sending us support tickets and requests for help, and Proofpoint was working hard to figure out how they could handle the the traffic and processing required to analyze such a large volume of email. People were eager to jump ship from Proofpoint and move toward Mimecast, or what some were calling “ABPP”: “anything but Proofpoint.”

The good news is that Proofpoint just rolled out new hardware, at the end of 2016, to deliver a five-times increase in capacity. Shouldn’t be seeing any more of those issues any time soon.

The scramble gets harder once again

We’ve been thinking about email security a lot lately, namely because tomorrow, McAfee will stop selling a number of its SaaS-based email security products. Some businesses will have support plans that continue on into 2019, but they’ll need to figure out a new solution sooner or later.

We’ve helped businesses transition before, and we’re ready to do it again. If you’ve been with McAfee and are looking for a better place to land, we can get you there.

History shows that no single service will be reliable or available forever. Businesses need to incorporate flexibility into their operations, even when they’re working in the cloud. That’s why working with managed service providers is more important than ever before. It’s our job to stay aware of these changes to the marketplace and figure out not only the next best solution, but also the easiest pathway to get our customers there. It’s that constant evaluation that sets a managed service provider apart from simply going it alone in the complex and always-changing cloud landscape.

It’s easy to look back on Postini and wish we could return to a simpler time, but the post-Postini world doesn’t have to be difficult. Solid alternatives have existed for some time, as long as there are new viable solutions out there, we’ll be helping our customers take advantage of them. Still, there’s no better way to prepare ourselves for the future of email security by taking a look back every now and then, and remembering that the one constant in technology is change.