Need an Edge server for email? SECURE Email Gateway’s worth a look…

Here’s a disclaimer: I am currently contracting at Clearswift as a Test Engineer, and am therefore somewhat biased. I genuinely think this is a pretty good product, but bear that in mind when you read this blog.

Here’s another: The views of the author do not represent the views of Clearswift, or necessarily that of Llama IT. (I say that for legal purposes, although as the Director of Llama IT, and not knowing anything about law, I suspect the second part of that statement is useless. The first part is definitely true though.)

So, in short, Microsoft don’t look like they are releasing a 2013 version of the Edge server role (essentially a transport server that doesn’t require the Windows platform it runs on to be in a domain and doesn’t contain user information). Also, Microsoft have dropped their Forefront Protection for Exchange product (the one that used to be Sybari for you old folk).

So, what do you do? Keep your old Edge servers if you have them? Use Microsoft’s Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (a.k.a. FOPE (“fopee”) but probably called something else now Microsoft have dropped the Forefront for Exchange product, may it rest in peace)? Use some other cloud service like MessageLabs? All viable options, but ladies and gentlemen, may I suggest you also have a wee look at Clearswift’s SECURE Email Gateway product?

SECURE Email Gateway is effectively the successor to their MIMEsweeper for SMTP product – at least for mail going in and out of your company. MIMEsweeper was well-liked by customers for it’s powerful content-scanning capabilities, but (in my personal experience) less so for its less than intuitive UI. Having said that, many customers still have one knocking around in the DMZ somewhere, and Clearswift still sell it, so I shouldn’t be too negative, otherwise I won’t have a job for long. So back to the Email gateway…

Essentially, it uses the same policy engine as MIMEsweeper, but much updated (and more great updates coming soon, but I’ll save that for another time), It is built on a Clearswift version of Linux and is administered through a web UI – Windows admins fear-not – you should never have to touch the Linux command line. Think of it like your Sky box – it’s Linux underneath, but who cares…

I’m not going to go into the features – there’s loads and I’ve got work to do, but have a look at Clearswift’s website and download the datasheet. It does Anti-SPAM, (sender reputation, black-lists, white-lists, RBLs etc), and it does Anti-virus (Sophos and Kaspersky). It also has multiple policy routes, so you can control what you do with messages depending on who they are from/to etc.

But the ‘what you do’ is the impressive stuff – there’s all sorts of content rules you can apply to a route, like lexical-scanning analysis (profanity, confidentiality etc., fully customisable), image analysis, annotations depending upon route, and filetype/size blocking, as well as other cool stuff like checking for credit card data in your emails and attachments. Good stuff, and way more powerful than Edge + Forefront used to be in my opinion. Go on, take a look…



BTW, they also do a SECURE Web Gateway which is pretty cool as well – basically a proxy server, but with cool stuff like scanning stuff your users put up on Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, SkyDrive etc. Updates to both products and more new stuff is coming soon, but I recommend evaluating these versions now, then you’ll really appreciate the new stuff when that comes along…

[Standard disclaimer: This post implies no warranties, your mileage may vary etc. etc.]

Tim Coveney, Messaging Consultant, Llama IT.

This entry was posted in Email, Hygiene. Bookmark the permalink.

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