But the Agari service at this point doesn't provide this security filtering for email destined for the typical corporate email server, and thus is more consumer-focused in that regard for now. "This is not for [Microsoft] Exchange," says Peterson but adds Agari is working on finding a way for its technology to apply to various corporate email servers as well.
Also, as of yet, the Agari system wouldn't stop attackers that could evade the Agari email filtering process by using, for instance, European telecom or ISPs which don't yet support Agari filtering.
Because there's such a mammoth stream of spam each day, AT&T and other ISPs already make great efforts to block it, which "is a great and important technology," Peterson says. What Agari adds to this effort, he says, is a way to detect and notify an enterprise about any attempt to steal their specific business email identity in order to trick people into opening fake email that might be loaded with malware or is a phishing attack designed to look like email from a company or someone they know. Agari has some competition in this segment, with company Return Path also seeking to win in the email assurance arena.
"Agari means to win in Japanese," Peterson says. The company, formed in October 2009 and now with 13 employees, has received about $2.5 million in venture capital backing from Alloy Ventures, Battery Ventures, First Round Capital and Greylock Partners.
The history of Agari has roots at Cisco, where Peterson, a Cisco Fellow involved in research, convinced Cisco to let him go off and establish the company based on technology Peterson was developing before joining Cisco as part of the IronPort acquisition. But Peterson still retains his position as Cisco Fellow, though cutting back on hours to spend most of his time at Agari. Cisco, while it's said not to be an investor at Agari, does gain benefits such as access to security information of interest, and a chance to co-market Agari services to Cisco customers.
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