The Spam & Virus Firewall from Barracuda Networks provides solid inbound and outbound email security functionality through a feature-rich appliance. This solution features protection from spam, phishing, spyware and viruses, along with email encryption and data leakage prevention policies to ensure that sensitive data is handled properly. For added scanning capabilities, the Spam & Virus Firewall can also be deployed in a hybrid configuration using Barracuda's Cloud Protection Layer.

The initial setup and deployment of the offering took us just a few minutes to complete. To get the appliance up and running, we simply connected a keyboard and monitor to the appliance itself, which allowed us to access the console to configure network and IP information. Once the IP address was configured and the appliance was connected to the network we could access the web-based management console. Overall, we found this console to be easy to navigate due to an intuitive tab-top navigation structure. After a few minutes inside the console, we had all our mail settings configured, as well as an email policy. This product must be configured manually and there are no configuration wizards to assist with deployment. To speed up initial deployment, we would like to see a wizard that at least assists in the initial configuration.

We found this solution to contain a number of excellent policy options. Administrators can create email policy that filters attachment types, IP addresses, rate controls and sender and recipient filters. Aside from the various filters, this tool also includes a few predefined data leakage policies, such as credit card and Social Security numbers. The number of predefined policies is quite limited, but custom policies can be easily created with a few clicks of the mouse. Once policy is defined, the Spam & Virus Firewall can be set to scan the subject, body or attachments of an email, and take actions - such as block, quarantine, encrypt or redirect - based on content.

We found all documentation to contain a large amount of screen shots, diagrams and configuration examples, as well as clear, step-by-step instructions.

Barracuda Networks offers basic eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week phone support at no cost to customers. Customers can also purchase additional aid, including enhanced 24/7 phone- and email-based technical assistance. Also available at no additional cost to customers are several online options, including a full product knowledge base, documentation downloads and a user community forum.

At a price just shy of $4,000 for the Model 400 appliance, plus $1,399 per year for Energize Updates, we found this solution an excellent value for the money. While Barracuda Networks Spam & Virus Firewall does not come with as many predefined templates as other products in this space, it stands well on its own merits with easy configurability and flexible deployment options. We found it to contain a complete feature set that provides solid email security and encryption at a reasonable cost.