Readers' Choice Awards '08: IT Security Products of the Year


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Antispam, antiphishing, email antivirus, content filtering and archiving


IronPort Email Security Appliances

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Cisco Systems

Lauded by readers for their ability to detect and block spam, phishing attempts and viruses, email security appliances from IronPort Systems, a business unit of Cisco Systems, won top honors.

Readers also gave the devices high marks for ease of use and ability to integrate with existing messaging applications. IronPort email security appliances use a multilayered security architecture to fight spam that includes reputation filters and context-based antispam filters. They use a similar multipronged approach to fighting viruses, employing virus outbreak filters and third-party antivirus signatures.

IronPort's reputation filters and virus outbreak filters leverage data gathered by the vendor's SenderBase global email and Web traffic monitoring network to provide added protection from email-based malware; automatic alerts and rule updates are sent directly to the appliances. The devices run on IronPort's proprietary operating system, AsyncOS, and feature continuous rule updates to maintain high accuracy.

The product line is designed to meet the needs of any size company, from small businesses to large corporations and ISPs.

NOTABLE Cisco completed its acquisition of IronPort in June 2007.


Barracuda Spam Firewall
Barracuda Networks

Barracuda Spam Firewall snagged the silver medal, winning high marks from readers in several categories. The appliance scored high in its ability to block spam and malware, integration with existing applications, end user transparency and ease of installation and administration.

The device, which comes in seven models, provides integrated antispam, antivirus, antiphishing and antispyware protection. It uses several techniques to protect an email server, including IP reputation analysis, sender authentication, user-specified policies, Bayesian analysis and rule-based scoring. End user control features allow for fine tuning and enhanced accuracy.

A single Barracuda Spam Firewall handles up to 30,000 active mail users; multiple units can be clustered for high availability. All models include outbound filtering techniques such as attachment scanning, virus filtering and rate control to ensure outgoing email is legitimate.

A system administrator monitors and manages the applications via a Web interface, and Barracuda's security operations center continuously updates the firewall with spam and virus definitions.

NOTABLE Barracuda recently enlisted help from the open source community to defend itself against patent infringement claims made by Trend Micro.

This was first published in April 2008

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