Strengths: Easy-to-install and configure secure content management solution with very logical, web-based layout
Verdict: With medium range costs, good features and its ease to install and maintain, eSoft's ThreatWall is rated SC Recommended.
Esoft's ThreatWall provides SMTP mail filtering and web traffic filtering. It can be installed in transparent mode, which allows the device to sit inline with the mail server. Or it can operate in routing mode, in line with the firewall.
The final option is node mode, which allows for the device to be positioned anywhere on the network. Each of the three configurations has advantages and disadvantages. For our tests we decided to use the node mode.
ThreatWall uses most common methods of spam detection, including blacklist, heuristics, SPF records and RDNS checks. The HTTP filter uses most major categories of inappropriate content and blocks them.
ThreatWall also offers quarantine for spam email, which can be integrated into Active Directory so that each user sees only the spam intended for their email account.
Installing ThreatWall is quite simple. The first step is setting the IP address on the appliance and, unlike some other devices, the box can be configured by the LCD panel on the front or through a web browser. The LCD feature is useful as it means you don't have to reconfigure the IP address on the administration system.
Once the IPs are set, a set-up wizard launches, which makes it easy to perform most configuration options. After the wizard is complete, ThreatWall really starts to shine. The web configuration interface is well laid out and easy to follow. Once we were in the configuration interface we did not need any documentation to help with the process. However, the installation does take some time due to the device's need to download updates and packages.
The only documentation is a hard-copy quick-start guide, with all other documentation available from the eSoft website or via the onscreen help buttons on the device itself. The PDFs are indexed, which makes it easier to find the necessary information.
Support is available in all of the common formats from eSoft, including email, web and around-the-clock phone support. Technical support is provided free for 90 days; Softpaks, which enable updates, start at £112 per annum.
The cost for the ThreatWall offering was in the middle of the price spectrum. At £2,137 it offers easy installation and a pretty large feature set.