We reviewed this product last year, when it was version 4.7. For this version, there have been a few changes and developments.
One of the major changes includes an improved anti-phishing feature using the anti-spam URL filter. Incoming emails are checked against a database of known phishing sites and others that distribute malicious code.
Another feature is expanded language support, with ten dictionaries bundled and improved support for Asian character sets.
Installation was fairly painless. We installed the latest service pack, which fixed a number of problems, including the rules engine hanging when processing messages containing the MyDoom or Bagel viruses.
The main console was clear to understand and, indeed, this is one of the product's strongest points, despite there being quite a few structural elements to navigate. Setting up the product to work was reasonably easy and did not to cause too many headaches.
Usually, email filters are set up to filter messages coming through written in English. We have seen over the last year many products that work well in English only to fall down when processing spam in Spanish or Chinese. But the few foreign messages that came from our spam sample did not phase the product in the slightest.
Our test server was below the minimum spec set by the vendor, but we didn't notice much lag once the test was under way.
The latest version also allows administrators to set limits to the number of connections from the same IP address in a certain timeframe – basically, a form of protection from DoS attacks. This is fairly easy to implement and appeared to work quite well.
Overall, we were impressed by the number of new features that were useful and easy to set up.
This product only supports Windows, but SurfControl now offers a hardware appliance which is based upon a hardened version of Linux.