Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security

On paper, InterScan Messaging Security from Trend Micro is a wonderful product. Combining on-premise software with an optional cloud-based pre-filter, the tool provides a flexible approach to email security. If we would have been able to get it working, we would probably be impressed.

The software shipped to us as a VMware open virtualization format (OVF) template, but after deployment we still had to run through the OS installation. A strange extra step, but it did function, and in short order we were able to log into the web administration tool. We were then presented with a configuration wizard, which attempted to guide us through mail server, notification, update sources and lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) settings. Worth noting is that the documentation is misleading in places. We were not able to properly configure in- and outbound simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) relaying without a call to support. Also, activating the encryption features was complicated. The administrator is expected to fill out a form in the web administration tool which triggers a series of back and forth emails, ultimately resulting in the return of a key file which is uploaded to the product. Any interruptions in that process can cause lengthy delays. In our case, Trend Micro had blocked the IP address of the SC Labs' mail server, preventing us from replying to the confirmation email. Despite working with product support, as of our submission time, we were not able to get the encryption features working.

Content filtering on the product was actually very simple. Users of Microsoft Outlook will find the policy creation process especially simple, as it is reminiscent of that product's rule creation process. Messages that trigger policies can be rerouted, modified and apparently encrypted, though as we noted above we were not able to actually test that feature. 

Documentation comes as a series of PDFs. They are well constructed with bookmarks, hotlinks and screen shots. We had issues with the content, however. While each feature of the device is highlighted, in many cases it is given only sparse coverage. We were not even able to get simple SMTP mail relaying to function properly on our own, and the configuration that the support engineer guided us to runs counter to what was outlined in the documentation.

Support is provided on an eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week basis. However, additional options are available, including 24/7 and access to advanced engineers, priority support, remote installation and proactive threat alerts. The SC Labs must have been provided the low-tier support option because we had numerous problems with product and feature activation, as well as configuration, which took days to resolve, if at all.

Trend Micro charges $15.01 per user for the InterScan Messaging Security appliance, based on a 5,000-user license pack. This includes one year of eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week maintenance, but not data leakage prevention or encryption features, which are $9.99 per user extra. Maintenance charges for subsequent years are $6 per user for the base product, with an extra $4 for email encryption and DLP features.

Product title
Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security
Product info
Name: Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security Description: Very easy content filtering. Price: $15.01 based on 5,000 users; DLP and encryption add $9.99.
Very easy content filtering.
Poor documentation, difficult-to-reach support, overly complicated encryption.
Looks great on paper, but not worth the hassle.

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