This really is, in the context of this Group Test, a horse of a different color. Rather than being a secure email product by itself, S/MIME Toolkit is a set of Java-based tools that integrate into the email environment to provide seamless integration with the email client. This really is for developers and it is strongly enterprise-centric.
S/MIME Toolkit requires MIME formatted messages (S/MIME is a set of secure/multipurpose internet mail extensions). The Toolkit converts MIME messages into encrypted messages and then treats them as it would any email message. The user is not aware of the underlying process.
S/MIME Toolkit is transparent when used in an Outlook or Outlook Express environment, but is taxing for the average user. We found that the requirements for use of the Toolkit outside of such an environment required the explicit creation of input and output files when encrypting/unencrypting and signing. We do not recommend this product as a standalone email system, or as an adjunct to any email system other than an environment where it can perform transparently.
Implementing the Toolkit appears simple at first and there is a short installation guide. However, we had difficulty getting everything up and running. Simply put, while this is a good product, it is not for the faint-hearted. This is not a plug-and-play email security product.
Documentation for the product consists of an installation guide and an API (application programming interface) document. We found the documentation to be weak considering the type of product this is. There is a support program at extra cost, but the product depends heavily on integrated help. We found this useful, but not adequate to replace a support program.
At $5,000 for the Toolkit, we find that it is priced appropriately. However, the lifecycle cost of this product is dependent on the skills of the engineers deploying and supporting it, as well as the size and type of the deployment. We see S/MIME Toolkit as, at best, an average value for most, with a potential value range of poor to good depending on the aforementioned variables.