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
Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Hosted Security
InterScan Messaging Hosted Security (IMHS) from Trend Micro demonstrated excellent spam-busting performance in my testing: It stopped 97 percent of the incoming spam, with just 12 false positives and one critical, landing it in third place by a very small margin. Additionally, false positives and critical false positives were very low (see test results). Furthermore, Trend Micro offers basic features such as anti-virus. Advanced features include content management, for both enforcing HR policies and protecting intellectual property. The icing on the cake here is the pricing: At 1,000 users, it runs $1.06 per user per month for the basic feature set and $1.60 per for the advanced feature, making InterScan the least expensive offering in this roundup. Even better, Trend Micro's is the only service that comes with an SLA.
Setting up the service is simple. Provisioning users through the portal is fairly easy, too: Each users fills out a simple form the first time he or she accesses the site, after which his or her account is provisioned automatically. Admins can import user information from Active Directory to verify that e-mail is being sent to legitimate recipients. However, there is no way to sync the directory information or use the AD information to provision accounts.
Once user accounts are set up, the user experience is a breeze. The reports on quarantined messages (screenshot) are user-friendly, and whitelistingmessages is fuss-free.
Establishing policies is simple, and admins can easily create powerful policies to filter incoming and outgoing messages based on specific words, attachment types, or other criteria. Admins can even create specific policies to block or quarantine messages containing encrypted zip files. It doesn't include the signature capability that MessageLabs has, which prevents users from sending restricted documents, even if their names have been changed.
Reporting tools for the admin are good, and reports are easy to read, should it become necessary to show executives how well the service is performing.
All in all, IMHS provides great performance and a very fine feature set at a very low price and with good functionality. It lacks the granularity and ease of use that you'll find in MessageLabs, but it's also much less expensive.
Choosing the right service for your organization can depend on a number of factors, including false positive rate, feature set, and price. If price is the most critical consideration, Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Hosted Security is a great choice. If a very capable, flexible feature set is your first priority, MessageLabs may be your best bet.
The user experience -- both for admins and end-users -- is another key differentiator among all of these services. The only real way to find out which services are most appealing to you and your users is to test-drive your top choices. Fortunately, all of the providers offer free trials. Trying out a service entails simply changing the DNS records for your domain to point at the hosting site, and the trial period begins. You can try the service for at least 30 days to find out how it works with your mix of e-mail and how your users like it.