The Rule18 security and privacy appliance is a full-functioned email gateway complete with encryption and content management. The former function uses transport layer security with strong encryption. The device encrypts email content, headers and attachments in transit, and is policy-driven. The device, with an email firewall and spam filter, effectively does double duty as an email security product and an email content management tool. The appliance works in conjunction with an email server to provide both incoming and outgoing services. The tool becomes an organization's mail exchanger by forwarding emails to the server.

Setup of the appliance is straightforward and took us only a few minutes to get up and ready for application configuration. Initial configuration of the device is performed using a console connection to the appliance. Application management is via a web interface.

Application setup went smoothly, and we rebooted the appliance to get us started. Our first task was to set up policies for everything from configuration to security. The choices are considerable and nicely granular.

Although policy configuration for the content management functionality is excellent, configuration of the security piece is confusing and not well-documented. For example, there is nothing in the administrator manual that we received that describes the TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption setup, which requires a compatible system on the distant end with which the device can negotiate a TLS connection.

Overall, though, we found that the email content management piece of the device is superb. However, the security piece does require much more detailed documentation. Other than that, the manual is excellent. The website is complete and well-organized, and there are solid support options for various types of deployments. The capabilities may be delivered by the device or as a cloud-based service.

We found this to be a very good value for the money as an email content management tool, but the email security piece of it lacks ease of use.