Spam, viruses and directed attacks have made managing e-mail security an increasingly complex and difficult job. eWEEK Labs recently reviewed three appliances that will reduce the burden on IT managers by consolidating messaging security applications in a single box.
Appliances from BorderWare Technologies Inc., CipherTrust Inc. and IronPort Systems Inc. give companies a new way to solve the problem of securing e-mail without investing in numerous point applications—from messaging gateways to anti-spam software—and the hardware needed to run those applications. We reviewed the $7,995 BorderWare MXtreme Mail Firewall MX 200, the $44,000 CipherTrust IronMail 305 and the $54,950 IronPort C60.
All three appliances include a mail transfer agent, policy management capabilities, and virus- and spam-filtering features. However, the systems also have a number of differences—both big and small.
We found that the CipherTrust appliance provides the best all-around solution, including a Web mail proxy.
The BorderWare MXtreme appliance likewise covers all the bases, but wed like to see better reporting and consolidated management for administering multiple boxes. These capabilities are coming in the next release of the appliances software.
The IronPort appliance will be a good fit for companies that already have a firewall and proxy in place for managing access to Web mail but need a way to handle large volumes of inbound and outbound e-mail while filtering spam and viruses.
The appliances we tested give companies a way to eliminate what are often dedicated boxes running messaging gateways and anti-virus and anti-spam systems. Furthermore, they simplify management of all these applications by providing unified management and reporting capabilities.
However, these appliances wont necessarily reduce messaging costs. All the appliances we tested rely on third-party anti-virus tools, so companies will still need to pay an annual renewal fee to keep virus definition files up-to-date. The cost can range from $1.50 to $5 per user per year, depending on volume. The BorderWare and IronPort appliances also offer third-party anti-spam software, whose annual cost can run from $3 to $7 per user. In the case of the anti-spam engines developed by CipherTrust and BorderWare, the yearly maintenance and support fees will cover updates to those engines.
All three appliances provide policy management capabilities, but none of the systems features was as complete as wed like.
In addition, none of the systems provides the flexibility of point solutions.
For example, the appliances can search only messages and attachments for content that may be confidential or objectionable. In contrast, a point solution that runs in close conjunction with a groupware application, such as Omniva Inc.s Policy Manager, will give companies the ability to create policies to filter internal and external communications, as well as provide a means to encrypt outbound messages.
Groupware-based solutions can also give companies a way to more readily manage the workflow associated with auditing messages, as well as either distribute keys or provide Web-based access for opening encrypted messages.