Sophos Email Security and Data Protection 3.4 is a hardware appliance that acts as an email security and content management gateway supporting downstream SMTP architectures. It offers anti-spam, anti-virus, content filtering and encryption capabilities, all controlled by policy triggers.
The Sophos appliance setup was as easy as it gets.
The feature-set includes all of the typical anti-spam and anti-virus technologies, but there is a little bit of a different twist on message encryption. Gateway encryption via TLS comes as standard, but message encryption is handled a bit differently. When a policy flags a particular email, the message is handled by Sophos' SPX protection. This ultimately packages the message into a PDF file for the recipient. The goal of this mechanism is to eliminate key exchanges and other productivity obstacles with regards to most standard encryption architectures.
Another unique feature, seemingly targeted at mid-size company administrators, is the ability to 'auto-detect' your LDAP or directory settings. Our test Active Directory LDAP information was populated automatically after simply entering in a few fields of data.
What really impressed us is the Sophos approach to flagging sensitive content within email messages. Sophos uses Content Control Lists (CCL) and comes pre-packaged with an impressive and extensive dictionary of sensitive terms that can be flagged via policy. The ability to add your own dictionary and terms is also present.
Overall, the focus on data leakage is noticeable and Sophos does a great job with the flexibility that an administrator can apply to both inbound and outbound messages. Lastly, the appliance can be clustered for high availability as well.
Documentation on the appliance and the Sophos website are both top-notch. Phone and email support 24/5, plus remote monitoring of the appliance, are included in the price. Additional tiers (premium and platinum) are also available.
For features and performance, the Sophos solution was one of the most impressive appliances at this particular price point.