Cisco Email Security Appliance
Strengths: Easy to deploy and manage with many policy templates out of the box
Weaknesses: Nothing that we found – this product is the bee’s knees
Verdict: Cisco Email Security Appliance is an extremely solid product and does everything it claims to do
The Cisco Email Security Appliance offers a wide variety of email security and content management features bundled into one package. With this tool in place, administrators can protect their environment from spam, viruses and other mail-based malware, while managing email content and providing a solid level of data leak prevention and email control.
This highly configurable appliance was easy to build and deploy into our environment. The initial installation of the appliance consisted of connecting a network cable between a machine and the appliance and setting the IP of the machine to one that could connect to the default IP of the appliance. At this point, we were able to browse to the appliance's web-based setup wizard using a browser. We found the setup wizard to be easy-to-follow and, at completion, we had a pretty solid base configuration in place.
Once the setup wizard was complete, all further administration and management was done using the web-based management administration GUI.
While this was not one of the flashiest GUIs we have ever seen, we found it to be intuitive and easy to navigate, with many configurable options.
As we looked deeper into the appliance's policy configuration, we found that it comes with some preconfigured policies on board and ready to go. These included a vast array of regulatory compliance policies that could be put in place immediately or copied and customised to meet the needs of the environment or enterprise.
This solution offers a wide array of virus protection, with a few different anti-virus filters, out-of-the-box spam filters and built-in email encryption. Furthermore, the appliance offers on-board encryption for securing both inbound and outbound email. Different encryption profiles can be created to meet the needs of specific users or groups to ensure email is properly encrypted.
Documentation included quick-start and complete administrator guides. We also found a few other pieces of supplemental material and user guides via the website support area. The quick-start guide provided a brief overview of how to get the appliance up and running, with an initial configuration and a short summary of the setup wizard steps. We found all documentation to include clear step-by-step instructions, configuration examples and screen shots in a well organised layout.
Cisco provides a fee-based-only support model for customers. Assistance can be purchased as part of an annual agreement that includes access to many options. Pricing for aid starts at around c£828 and includes phone, email and web-based technical support, as well as access to a full online area where customers can interact with a knowledgebase, user forum, technical documentation and support case submission and tracking.
At a price starting at c£4,737, we found the Cisco Email Security Appliance to be excellent value for money. It was not only easy to configure and to use, but also included a solid feature set and many ready-to-go functions right out of the box. It is cost-effective and easy to deploy. This product can provide value and security to almost any type of enterprise environment.