If you'd like to save money on your office phone bill by switching to Skype, but worry that using the low-cost long-distance service may become a distraction for your employees, or will make your network vulnerable to security threats, a new technology may assuage your fears.

FaceTime Communications, a Foster City, Calif.-based software-security firm, has partnered with Skype in the release of a new VoIP security tool for business.

FaceTime Internet Security Edition allows network administrators choose the elements of Skype software their employees can use. IT managers can customize which components -- such as file transfer, voice calling, video calling, voicemail, and voice recording -- are available to individuals or groups of employees.

FaceTime's tool provides gateway security to stop inbound malware threats as well as outbound information leaks. The tool enables network administrators to enforce policies regarding the specific traffic that is permitted to cross the network.

In addition, FaceTime Internet Security Edition provides a real-time bandwidth-usage indicator, which allows network administrators to determine Skype's impact on network traffic and detect employees attempting to circumvent company policies.

Besides Skype, FaceTime's tool can be set up to secure and monitor many other instant messaging and peer-to-peer applications.

Keep Your Secrets… Secret

An indiscrete e-mail can damage your company's image, its competitive advantage, and your bottom line. But, no one in your organization would carelessly or maliciously release proprietary information, right? You may feel more confident of that after Sendmail, a San Francisco-based software company, evaluates your organization's e-mail habits.

Sendmail's Risk Assessment Program monitors all of a company's outgoing e-mail messages over a two-day period to identify any security and compliance risks. With little or no disruption to employees, the exercise helps companies build awareness of their exposure.

At the conclusion of the assessment, the company receives an executive summary report detailing which of the firm's security, compliance, infrastructure, and operational practices make it vulnerable to information leakage, as well as recommendations for future improvements.

Beat Back the Bots

Traditional network-security products often can't protect your business from targeted threats such as denial-of-service attacks. Because such attacks are customized, they require specialized detection and removal techniques. CounterStorm, a New York-based security technology company, has a new product feature designed to detect application-specific attacks and botnet threats.

The statistical payload analysis engine (SPA) for CounterStorm's Advanced Threat Recognition product suite models each application to establish a baseline of normal content usage. If an application's profile later shows anomalous activity, the tool recognizes that an outside attack is underway.

Because it was designed specifically to identify low-profile, slow, and stealthy system invasions, the SPA can identify and combat hit-list attacks, application-specific attacks, spyware, and non-scanning malware, including cache-harvesting worms and bots.