Corporate Guardian 6
Strengths: A feature-rich product with some aspects usually only available in far more expensive units
Weaknesses: The configuration interface is complex and will take administrators some time to become familiar with
Verdict: Don't let the price fool you - there are features aplenty.
SmoothWall's Corporate Guardian 6 is a software-based offering that is unique in that the product runs on a hardened version of Linux. The software provides a number of features and uses most of the common techniques to detect and block spam. These include using blacklists, heuristics and learning from legitimate incoming email. A feature that is quite handy for smaller organisations with outsourced hosted email is the ability for the spam filter to screen incoming POP3 traffic in addition to the traditional SMTP filtering.
The installation was simple, and the quick-start guide covered the process quite well. We ended up having to install the product twice because of an error in setting the root user's password. On the second attempt we had no such problem with the password.
Using a series of Linux menus, very little information is needed to install the product. The information required was basic enough for even the most novice administrator to be able to provide what is needed. Once the installation is finished the configuration takes place through a web browser directed to the Corporate Guardian on port 81 for HTTP or port 441 for HTTPS. If you happened to miss this information during the install it is readily available in the quick-install guide.
The configuration interface is far from intuitive, and reading the admin guide becomes almost a necessity to configure the device. We found the layout confusing and had to spend some time reading the documentation just to get the feel for the interface.
Documentation included the quick-start guide mentioned earlier, which comes as a hard copy manual and is very well done. Other information is available in PDF format. Plan to spend some time with the admin guide as you are configuring the product. At 212 pages it is important the guide is indexed to help find individual topics.
Support is available in the usual formats including web, email, and phone support for the installation.
The pricing for the SmoothWall offering was at the low end of the price spectrum. At £400, the product includes features that are usually only offered in products with a much higher price tag.