Lab test: Barracuda Spam Firewall
Barracuda combines solid features and great configurability at a low price, but filtering accuracy lags the field
The Barracuda Spam Firewall blocked more spam before filtering than any other appliance, using IP address reputation. As a result, spam as a percentage of total messages received was the lowest in the test. However, Barracuda also had the lowest percentage of spam caught, 88 percent, which is acceptable but not great. Lower accuracy sometimes helps reduce the number of false positives, but it didn’t seem to help the Barracuda much: one critical false positive and 33 bulk false positives rank sixth and fifth, respectively, among the nine solutions tested. Nevertheless, in terms of overall filtering performance, the Barracuda is definitely usable, especially after bulk senders are whitelisted.
The Barracuda model 400 and all of its brethren, which differ only in number of users supported, is easy to set up, although there are a great many settings that can be changed from the defaults, giving you great flexibility in configuration. You can create a default IP address without serial or KVM login, which makes the initial network setup easier, and the rest of the configuration is done through a Web browser. LDAP setup isn’t the easiest, but it's not too bad.
There are many default settings that can be tailored to match your requirements, although how the settings will affect performance isn’t always clear. The default settings and the settings Barracuda recommended to me were different, so the product may require tuning to optimize performance.
[ Compare spam filtering statistics for the mail security appliances tested. Compare their features. Return to “Test Center guide: Mail security appliances.” See reviews of the appliances from Barracuda, BorderWare, Cisco, Mirapoint, Proofpoint, Secure Computing, Sendio, Symantec, and Tumbleweed. ]
The default settings also block a substantial amount of legitimate bulk e-mail. According to Barracuda, many of these legitimate messages may not comply with the CAN-SPAM act. To clear the way for these messages to get through, you’ll need to allow for a training period during which users whitelist the stuff they want.