Test Center: E-mail security services square off
From spam-busting to content management, we test the limits of hosted e-mail security offerings from AppRiver, MessageLabs, Microsoft, MX Logic, SECNAP, and Trend MicroFollow @infoworld
Pricing for Exchange Hosted Filtering Services starts at $1.75 per user per month for a small business (with a minimum of five users). Pricing may be much less in large volumes (there are no published fees). As a bonus, many Microsoft customers may be able to use Exchange Hosted Filtering at no additional charge through the Exchange Enterprise CAL, Microsoft Enterprise CAL, or Forefront Security Suite.
With excellent performance and usability, as well as pricing that may be included for Microsoft enterprise customers, Exchange Hosted Filtering Services offers a lot of capability at a price that is pretty good -- probably.
MX Logic Email Defense Service
Geared toward large enterprises, MX Logic's Email Defense Service (EDS) offers a nice array of features, including anti-spam, anti-virus, content management, and e-mail continuity, all at a very low price. Unfortunately, its spam-stopping abilities, though acceptable at 95 percent, were near the bottom of the barrel in this roundup. I found a relatively high number of false positives as well -- 96, along with four criticals -- meaning users who receive a high number of legitimate bulk e-mail will need to whitelist a lot of messages (see test results).
Setup was trouble-free, with automatic provisioning of users and easy access to settings on a per-user, per-group, or per-domain basis.
The end-user UI is also well designed, suited for even the most unsophisticated user. Users receive spam reports listing quarantined messages, along with links for automatically logging in to the user portal and allowing whitelisting or blacklisting easily.
Among EDS's extensive feature set is e-mail continuity. If the local mail server fails, users can view undelivered messages via a Webmail interface.
MX Logic's policy engine is among the most granular among the services I tested, and relatively easy to use. (MessageLabs fared slightly better in this area.) Policies can be tailored to flag both incoming and outgoing messages for racially insensitive terms, obscenity, or sexual overtones. Moreover, the engine can look for attachments, Java, or other potential exploits, as well as URLs or other links in messages. Reporting defaults to month-to-month (screenshot), but adding custom reports is easy.
Pricing for MX Logic EDS is good at higher volumes: $1.60 per user per month for 1,000 users (or $2 with message continuity service) and 99 cents per user per month for 5,000 users ($1.26 with message continuity). There are no setup fees, and 24/7 live telephone and Internet support is included. Online training for users and admins is available every week, and online or phone help is based in the United States.
Thanks to MX Logic EDS's excellent feature set and very low pricing at high volumes, the service's less-than-stellar spam-filtering performance is easy to overlook. If your users don't receive a lot of bulk e-mail or are willing to spend a couple of weeks whitelisting messages, they'll probably find performance perfectly satisfactory.