MessageLabs launched the latest version of its hosted web security services today, with an emphasis on speed and improved threat detection.

Web Security Services 2.0 improves the routing of client email, IM (instant messaging) and web traffic through the company's 12 worldwide data centres, MessageLabs said. As a result, MessageLabs has boosted its service-level agreement for availability.

"The traffic goes to the fastest available data centre and it provides automatic network-level failover," said Brian Czarny, vice-president of product management at the firm.

Unlike some other antivirus companies, MessageLabs uses it own infrastructure to filter a company's email, IMs and internet traffic for malicious threats, such as spyware and viruses.

MessageLabs added technology to the service called 'Skeptic', which detects viruses, Trojans, spam and phishing attacks. Skeptic is incorporated into what MessageLabs calls "a converged threat analysis", in which threats from one vector, such as a malicious link in an email, can be used to smarten its web traffic scanning.

"Now you are protected on multiple fronts," Czarny said.

Further improvements have been made to the management interface in how services are configured, along with a one-window dashboard for reports on email, IM and web traffic, Czarny said.

The price for its antispyware, antivirus and URL filtering services is $5 (about £2.75) per user per month. The price goes down for a higher number of users and if combined with other email and IM services, Czarny said.