Lab test: Barracuda Spam Firewall
Barracuda combines solid features and great configurability at a low price, but filtering accuracy lags the field
Using the Web interface to access the quarantine is pretty clumsy. There are three separate steps to releasing blocked messages: whitelisting the sender, marking the message as ‘not spam’ for re-classification, and delivering the message. Each step requires a box to be checked, and after the screen refreshes, the first box doesn’t stay marked, so you have to wait a few seconds for the refresh, find the box again, check again, click a second button, wait again, find it again then click a third button. Thankfully, using the Outlook plugin makes whitelisting much easier.
Adding senders to the whitelist adds the sender only, with no option to add the entire domain. This can make for a lot of extra work, because senders are often different for every newsletter even though they’re all from the same domain.
Barracuda offers a good spread of additional features, including compliance filtering, IM protection, URL filtering to help fight phishing, clustering for higher loads, scanning of attachments as well as the body of e-mails, and good reporting.
The Barracuda has the lowest price by a substantial margin of any product tested, and because the software is the same for all versions of the appliance, upgrading to a new version that supports more users would be painless as well as inexpensive. Ranging from the model 100 that supports 1 to 50 users at a price of $899, up to the model 900 that supports 15,000 to 30,000 users at a price of $29,999, the Barracuda Spam Firewall offers a very low cost per user and good functionality.