Sizing Up E-mail Appliances


All of the appliances provide adequate levels of reporting and log access, though, overall. This was the most disappointing aspect of our evaluation, particularly for enterprise-caliber products.

CipherTrust was the best, providing easy access to both the appliance's log files and a wide range of reports. Its weakness is the lack of customization: You must export the logs files off and use an external report generator such as Crystal Reports. Additionally, the report export function is limited to CSV format.

IronPort was close behind, with a rich source of both logs and reports, though its logs were a challenge to extract. It also falls short in its customization and export functions.

Symantec provides a superb set of reports, but there is no customization. The logs are only fair and must be exported to a separate syslog server.

BorderWare offers only the bare minimum set of logs and only slightly better reports. It supports minimal customization, and you can only export reports via e-mail from the administrative interface.

All Viable Choices
Overall, we were impressed with these appliances. All of them would perform in a multiple-device deployment on a global scale. We also found them among the most secure devices we've seen in our labs, resisting all our efforts at compromise.

For innovation, we would certainly choose either the CipherTrust

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or IronPort solutions. Both vendors provide a rich mix of features, world-class antispam technologies and mature user interfaces. They get our best grades overall, with a nod to CipherTrust.

BorderWare is a viable choice for mid- to large-scale deployments because of its native load-balancing and failover, and the clustering option makes this solution easy to scale. Its use of third-party antispam and AV technology makes it a predictable performer.

Symantec is a tried-and-true option for deployment. Innovation is not its strong point, but its global presence and support structure are definite strong suits.

All in all, this is a mature product group with a strong future as spam, phishing and virus attacks continue to grow.

Technical editor Tom Bowers, CISSP, PMP, CEH, is a manager of information security operations at a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company. Send your comments on this article to feedback@infosecuritymag.com.

This was first published in August 2005

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