Exclusive: CipherTrust, Corvigo, and MessageLabs lighten the spam load
Two appliances and one service all hold great promise in the battle against unwanted e-mail
Despite the government’s latest efforts to curb unwanted e-mail, spam is still stacking up in mail servers worldwide. Fortunately, vendors continue to make their anti-spam products smarter and smarter.
As part of InfoWorld’s ongoing tests of anti-spam, I recently took an exclusive look at two anti-spam appliances, CipherTrust’s IronMail 4.0 and Corvigo’s MailGate MG1200 2.0, along with MessageLabs’ Anti-Spam Service.
The IronMail and the MailGate had the highest percentage of spam caught, while all three did extremely well with false positives. The latter point is particularly important because reducing false positives is more critical than the reducing the percentage of spam filtered. The number of important e-mails incorrectly identified as spam ranged from one in 2,043 for Corvigo to eight in 4,889 messages for CipherTrust.
Looking beyond filtering capabilities, MessageLabs’ service offers superior ease of use, simple installation, and reduced network traffic. As appliances, both CipherTrust and Corvigo also offer relatively simple installations, particularly compared to anti-spam software. Although both have a higher up-front cost than MessageLabs’, their cost per user over a few years may be substantially less than the service, especially with thousands of users.
CipherTrust IronMail 4.0
Easy to use and configure, the IronMail appliance produced excellent results in my tests, and with no per-user cost it should be especially cost-effective in deployments with large numbers of users. Additional security and content control features offer extra value for the price.
IronMail offers a wide range of sophisticated features, including both anti-spam and anti-virus services and a variety of additional security features, including content checking, attachment filtering, Exchange firewall and reverse proxy capability, and intrusion detection. These features will be a boon to companies that would rather consolidate e-mail security in one place and that don’t already have these features in a firewall or other appliance.
This 1U, Intel server is based on an IBM eServer xSeries 305 system. Since on-site installation support is included, administrators will have little to do other than following the preinstallation checklist.
A wizard takes you through the initial setup. From there, the IronMail appliance can be attached to the normal network, and the rest of the configuration can be accomplished through a browser. The appliance connects to CipherTrust’s network for updates to filtering criteria and to share information on new trends in spam with information collected from all the other IronMail appliances.
Configuring IronMail is necessarily complex, given the large number of capabilities it offers. For instance, an admin can change the filtering order (anti-virus, anti-spam, content filtering, mail monitoring) and anti-spam filter order (Bayesian, ESP, blacklist), and there are a number of anti-spam filters to be configured. The primary filter is the ESP (Enterprise Spam Profiler), which uses a set of 15 tools. This is a larger variety of different tools than I have seen in a single product before, which allows for considerable flexibility, although not necessarily any greater effectiveness than other solutions.