The Sophos Email Security and Data Protection solution is a hardware appliance that acts as an email security and content management gateway supporting downstream SMTP architectures. The appliance offers anti-spam, anti-virus, content filtering and encryption capabilities all controlled by policy triggers.
The appliance setup was as easy as it gets, with regard to getting an appliance up and running. From an overall feature and performance perspective, the Sophos solution was definitely one of the most impressive appliances at this particular price point.
The feature set includes all the typical anti-spam and anti-virus technologies, but there is a little bit of a different twist on message encryption. Gateway encryption via TLS comes standard; however, message encryption is handled a bit differently. When a policy flags a particular email, the message is handled by Sophos' SPX protection. This protection ultimately packages the message into a PDF file for the recipient. The goal of this mechanism is to eliminate key exchanges and other productivity obstacles with regard to most standard encryption architectures. Whether this is a good or bad thing is a subjective decision of the target buyer. Another unique feature that may seemingly be targeted for mid-sized company administrators is the ability to "auto detect" your LDAP or directory settings. Our test Active Directory LDAP information populated automatically after simply entering in a few fields of data.
What really impressed us is the Sophos approach to flagging sensitive content within email messages. The company uses CCL (content control lists), which come pre-packaged with an impressive and extensive dictionary of sensitive terms that can be flagged via policy. The ability to add your own dictionary and terms (although we're not sure you'll need to) is also present. Overall, the focus on data leakage is noticeable and Sophos does a great job with the flexibility that an administrator can apply to both inbound and outbound messages. Lastly, the appliance can be clustered for high availability as well.
Documentation on the appliance and the Sophos website are both top-notch. 24/7 phone and email support, plus remote monitoring of the appliance, is included in the price. Additional tiers (premium and platinum) are available as well.