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By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-06-28 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


BorderWares MXtreme Mail Firewall MX 200, which began shipping in March, is the least expensive appliance we reviewed, but it doesnt lack in capability when it comes to providing security against message-based attacks. This appliance is designed for a relatively small number of users—roughly 250—and mail volumes consistent with that number of users.

However, other appliances in the MXtreme product line can handle bigger message loads. Like the IronPort C60, the MX 800 and MX 1000 models have multiple processors and RAID drive arrays. The MXtreme model we tested, the MX 200, compares more closely to the CipherTrust IronMail appliance in terms of core capabilities.

We like that BorderWares MXtreme gives companies a broad range of options. For example, companies have two choices when it comes to fighting spam: They can use an integrated version of Brightmail Inc.s anti-spam engine or BorderWares own anti-spam solution.

The BorderWare anti-spam system relies on real-time blackhole lists to block known spammers, a distributed checksum clearinghouse for bulk mail and statistical token analysis to analyze message content. The BorderWare anti-spam engine lacks a couple of features that would make it easier for a system to recognize spam, including a user feedback system and a way to upload good messages separately from spam.

It will cost a company more to activate the Brightmail license, but we think Brightmail is the better option because it will provide a high level of accuracy out of the gate. The BorderWare anti-spam solution will require additional configuration and training to reach optimal performance.

Click here to read eWEEK Labs review of Brightmails Anti-Spam Enterprise Edition Version 5.0.
The MXtreme firewall shares the same BorderWare S-core operating system found in the companys Firewall Server. The appliance has been hardened against operating system attacks, and it looks for malformed messages to prevent mail-based attacks on the mail server.

The MXtreme can also act as a proxy server for Web access to Microsoft Corp.s Exchange 5.5 and Windows 2000 Server, IBMs Lotus Domino and Notes, and its own internal POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) mail server. While the inclusion of a POP3 mail server may not appeal to companies already running a groupware application, it does broaden the the MXtreme appliances appeal to small businesses and ISPs.

We appreciated the ability to configure the MXtreme to require secure authentication from a broad range of systems, including RSA, SecurID and RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service).

The MXtreme can be easily managed over the Web and via its KVM (keyboard, video and mouse switch) console. Unlike the other two products we reviewed, the MXtremes console-based configuration uses a graphical interface rather than a command line.

Version 3.1 of the appliances software does not include tools for managing multiple MXtreme firewalls in a clustered environment. In addition, although the appliances software does have a reporting engine that includes 20 canned reports, wed like to see more reporting options. We did, however, like the MXtremes ability to preformat and e-mail reports in both PDF and HTML formats.

eWEEK Labs Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be contacted at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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