Strengths: Highly comprehensive feature set, including many bells and whistles, such as data leakage protection and protection from malware.
Weaknesses: Policy is difficult to configure.
Verdict: A powerhouse with some management challenges at a hefty price.
SummaryThe Clearswift MIMEsweeper appliance takes web content management to the next level. This appliance is loaded with features beyond the usual web filter. The main focus of this product is on new emerging threats specific to Web 2.0 and time-wasting social networking sites. More features include URL filtering, anti-malware from Kaspersky, anti-spyware from Aluria, HTTPS traffic scanning and data leakage protection.
This product is fairly easy to use. The initial setup is done following seven quick steps on the quick start guide. There is a brief setup wizard for the initial configuration, which gets the device ready to run in the environment. We found this wizard to be easy to follow and we were up and running in no time. The web GUI is fairly intuitive as well. However, we did have to spend a few minutes getting familiar with the layout and policy management. We found ourselves going around in circles in the policy manager trying to figure out exactly what we were supposed to do.
The MIMEsweeper appliance is a very flexible and customizable product. There are many predefined rule sets that can be used as is or customized to fit specific needs of the environment. One thing we really struggled with though was managing how to configure rules and policy routes. The policy engine is not intuitive at all and we found that most of the time we actually made things worse as we clicked around trying to apply policy.
Documentation for this product is comprised of a large quick start card and a help file on the appliance. There is also an administrator guide available on the website for download; however, we were not able to view this document as we did not have a support contract with Clearswift. The quick start card is nicely organized and illustrates the initial setup process quite well. The online appliance help is not as good, offering very basic information. It does not go into much detail at all.
Clearswift does offer phone and email support, as well as many other support options via support contracts. We found a large support area on the website also. This area includes documentation downloads, product patches, technotes and sample policies and utilities. Access to some of these is restricted to customers with contracts only.
At a hefty price of $25,000, this product does weigh in on the higher end of the price spectrum. We would rate this product an average value for money. It does have a highly comprehensive feature set with a lot of granularity available. However, we found it difficult to manage in certain areas.