The WatchGuard Extensible Content Security, or XCS, appliance offers a vast feature set for managing email content, protecting the enterprise from email-based threats and protecting compliance policies. This appliance can provide protection from email-based threats, such as spam, viruses, spyware, phishing and other malware, while maintaining tight regulatory compliance policies and preventing data leakage.

While this appliance packs some serious functionality, it is not difficult to configure or manage. The initial deployment takes just a few minutes and is guided by the web-based configuration wizard. At the completion of the wizard, all management and advance configuration is done via the well-organized and intuitive web GUI. We found this GUI to be highly functional.

The first thing we noticed about the web interface is the "Frequent Tasks" page. This helpful section highlights the most common management tasks, so we did not have to dig around in the interface to find them. Included on this page is the Data Loss Prevention Wizard, which takes the work of defining data leakage prevention policy down to a few simple clicks.

Documentation included quick-start, installation and full user guides, along with a few other supplemental manuals. The quick-start guide illustrates the steps for connecting the appliance and then passes the user over to the installation guide for wizard steps and other initial configuration tasks. In a clear and organized format, the user guide highlights product feature configuration along with advanced configuration tasks.

WatchGuard includes access to its LiveSecurity Plus support services with the purchase of the appliance. With this service, customers receive 24/7 phone and email technical assistance, as well as product updates, upgrades and access to an online help area.

At a price of $14,400 for the appliance and one-year Email Security Bundle, it may seem quite pricey at first glance, but we find it to be an excellent value for the money. The XCS appliance provides solid functionality that is very easy to use and manage with a vast amount of configuration flexibility.