Asian firms should revamp outdated e-mail infrastructure to counter the spread of spam and rising virus attacks on corporate e-mail systems, said an industry expert. 'The infrastructure with which e-mail is sent, received, and managed hasn't evolved much in over 20 years,' said Shrey Bhatia, vice-president for worldwide business development and international sales at network security specialist IronPort Systems. This is expected to encourage the increased use of specialised, low-cost business communications gateway appliances for network perimeter security. 'We see this trend accelerating over the next 12 months,' Mr Bhatia said. He said the market for e-mail-specific gateway appliances was fragmented and underinvested with many small players, compared with the sector that offered appliances that ran virtual private network, firewall and intrusion-detection systems with large players such as Symantec. IronPort leads the market for e-mail gateway appliances, with nearly 300 corporate customers in 16 countries. With appliances manufactured and sold under a partnership with personal computer maker Dell, IronPort has been widely deployed by China Telecom and Japan's Softbank Group in Asia, and fellow technology firms Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Dell. But Mr Bhatia said the recent purchase by Symantec of spam-filtering firm Brightmail could push up the profile for the e-mail security appliance market across Asia. Research firm Gartner said the merger presented Symantec with a potentially broader e-mail security market, which could perk up its lacklustre appliance business. It could also boost Asian market opportunities for IronPort, which recently set up marketing teams in Hong Kong, Beijing and Taipei. Its e-mail gateway appliances, which cost about $140,000 to $640,000, combine Brightmail spam-filtering and Sophos anti-virus programs.