McAfee Email Protection
Strengths: Numerous pre-compiled compliance dictionaries, easy encryption, simple yet powerful rules-based mail flow.
Weaknesses: Does not officially support all modern browsers, and that’s a stretch.
Verdict: An absolutely brilliant product. We make it our Best Buy.
The Holy Grail of IT products is one that is low cost, easy to use and offers a rich feature set. McAfee Email Protection easily fits those criteria in the email security and content filtering space.
The product came into the SC Labs as a VMware open virtual platforms (OVP) template. Deployment proceeded as normal and stepping through the installation screens was smooth and without challenge. All input fields were clearly marked and there was a context-sensitive help panel which clearly explained all setup options.
As part of McAfee Email Protection, customers get the flexibility to deploy email security onsite (virtual appliance, physical appliance, blade server), in the cloud via security-as-a-service, or hybrid as a combination thereof.
The product does everything we would expect a product in this space to do, with a combination of flexibility and ease of use seldom seen. By bringing all data leakage prevention, compliance and encryption rules under a common set of policies defined by the administrator, it's incredibly easy to establish rules governing any use case imaginable. Content filtering is made easy through an enormous set of pre-loaded dictionaries. The product does not disappoint with its encryption options either, including built-in support for identity-based encryption, S/MIME, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), and transport layer security (TLS) for server-to-server mail transport.
Mail-flow policies are constructed much like one would configure a firewall rule set, and the web administration tool makes even that simple by displaying each rule as a set of grouped links, allowing for quick modification. The product supports clustering in a load balancing/failover configuration, ensuring stability. It provides anti-virus and anti-spam protection, as well as lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) integration for group management and policy enforcement. Reporting was well done, too, with a number of reports available covering email and device statistics. An informative and customizable dashboard rounds the whole thing out, making it simple to view at a glance the status and statistics of the device. About the only negative thing we could find is that the web administration tool does not officially support Google Chrome or any of the recent versions of Firefox. That being said, we did not notice any lack of functionality in using either Chrome version 20.x or Firefox version 13.x, and the warning screen can easily be disabled as soon as it appears.
McAfee provides product documentation both through an online knowledge base, a series of PDFs which were well bookmarked and plenty of screen shots. We were especially pleased to see sample scenarios included in the administrators guide, which provided instructions for common configuration tasks.
For those rare situations where the documentation doesn't cut it, McAfee offers excellent user support. Included in the licensing cost is McAfee's gold level support, which grants access to 24/7 phone assistance, update notifications and access to its knowledge base and other online services. For larger deployments, McAfee also offers a number of increasingly dedicated support options, up to embedding a McAfee account manager or product specialist within the user's own IT team.
At a cost between $25 and $4.75 per user per year, depending on the number of licenses and the term commitment, it's incredibly easy to recommend McAfee Email Protection.