Blackspider MailControl

December 21, 2004

Blackspider's MailControl service won a Best Buy in SC Magazine last year for its strong service offering, and although FrontBridge beat it to the line this time around, MailControl is still a very good service indeed.

Reporting in particular is very good, with lots of predefined reports and data sets that can be narrowed down to check, for example, which policies are most effective and patterns of usage.

A full-blown account summary provides a ton of data, with graphs and summaries for all key areas of the service, with options to download the source data as a CSV file for offline analysis.

The online documentation is excellent, although the site tries to be far too clever for its own good by resizing windows to mimic Microsoft's help browser. A nice touch is a tool online that displays the MX record for your domain.

User groups can be imported from CSV files, with a lot of options for structuring the groups. The site provides some useful examples of how these can best be used.

User addresses can be aliased in both inbound and outbound email. And the ability to control email routing and server preferences is a feature that we were pleasantly surprised to see – most services assume that all customer mail will route through a single mail server. Blackspider has clearly thought through the needs of big, diverse organizations.

All this is a snap to set up – the interface is an exercise in simplicity. It is only in actual mail filtering policies that things become more complex.

With authority delegated among admin users, we particularly liked the audit trail of all configuration. Even quarantine actions are audited, which is good for completeness, but we were unsure how useful it would be in practice.

Blackspider's MailControl is still one of the best email managed service offerings we have tested.

Product title
BlackSpider MailControl
Product info
Name: Blackspider MailControl (Email services group test) Description: Price: $29.64 to $54.84 per user per annum
Strength
Management is extremely well thought out.
Weakness
Mail latency was a little higher than expected as a view in the standard client.
Verdict
Definitely one to short-list.
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