Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hosted email security with GFI MailEssentials Complete Online

Figure B presents a screenshot of what a user will see when checking a quarantine online. Notice the easy check boxes and buttons to release or delete.

FIGURE B

Kardashians. There are always Kardashians in the quarantine! (click for larger image)

Performance

Since we started using GFI MailEssentials Complete Online, the performance of our mail server has more than doubled. By filtering out all the junk before it gets to our system, our server is processing almost 75% fewer messages, which has reduced CPU and RAM usage.

Before we moved to MailEssentials Complete Online, we were looking at upgrading the server, but this is not needed any more. We don't even get low disk space warnings any more, like we did every time a spam flood would hit. I still want a new mail server, but now I can get one on my schedule, not just because we're flooded with spam.

Accuracy

False positives have always been a problem for us with our on-premise solution. We've seen quite accurate results with MailEssentials Complete Online. Although a spam email does make it through once in a while, it is a fraction of what our on-premise solution missed, and we haven't seen an infected attachment or a single phishing message get through.

I am also pretty happy that GFI MailEssentials Complete Online checks my outbound emails, just in case one of my users gets carried away and starts to send out spammy messages that could get us on a black list.

Email continuity

MailEssentials Complete Online includes a very cool feature which is called Email Continuity. We've all had circuit outages, and some of us have probably had server outages. MailEssentials Complete Online queues messages that it receives until it can connect to our on premise email server, but it does more than that. Email Continuity enables users to continue sending and receiving emails via the webmail interface of MailEssentials Complete Online if there is an outage. Business can continue even if something on our side is down.

Archiving

A great option that we jumped on was email archiving. I expect that soon, every company is going to want to use email archiving, but until we went with MailEssentials Complete Online, it just wasn't practical for us.

The storage space and servers we needed were not in the budget, but it was easy and affordable to add these to our GFI MailEssentials Complete Online and now, our users have virtually unlimited archive storage available and we don't have any PSTs to deal with anymore.

Things that could be improved

If I had to complain about something, it would be disclaimers. We used to put the company logo at the bottom of every outbound email, along with the typical language about confidential and privileged, etc. GFI MailEssentials Complete Online only offers plain text disclaimers, as shown in Figure C, and they cannot be personalized per user.

FIGURE C

If only the disclaimers could be customized. (click for larger image)

Reporting could be better too. GFI MailEssentials Complete Online does offer some basic reports, but does not support filtering on user, and the date range of some reports is fixed to pre-defined values that cannot be altered. It's not a deal breaker, but it could be better.

Conclusion

Overall, GFI MailEssentials Complete Online is a strong addition to our messaging system, and we are very happy with it. We can work with the reports, and the standard disclaimer may not be as flashy as we'd like, but users have added the company logo to their Outlook signatures and it looks just as good as what we had before.

With the boost in bandwidth now that all the junk is being blocked before it gets to our border, our users think we bought a bigger pipe, and have noticed how much faster the Internet seems. We were looking at a server upgrade for our email system, but now we can probably get another two years out of our current system.

Are we satisfied with this solution? Yes, and we recommend it too.

Peter Adams has over 15 years of experience working in the IT industry and is currently working as a Technical Architect at one of the US services providers.