SmoothWall Corporate Guardian 6
Strengths: A feature-rich product with some features only available in far more expensive units.
Weaknesses: The configuration interface is complex, and will take time for most administrators.
Verdict: Don't let the price of this product fool you - there are features aplenty, but configuration can be taxing on overburdened IT staffs.
SummaryThe SmoothWall Corporate Guardian 6 is a software-based offering that is unique in that the product runs on a hardened version of Linux. The software provides a number of features and uses most of the common techniques to detect and block spam. These techniques include using blacklists, heuristics and also a learning feature which learns from legitimate incoming email. A handy feature for smaller organization with outsourced hosted email is the spam filter’s ability to also filter incoming POP3 traffic in addition to the traditional SMTP filtering.
The installation of Corporate Guardian was simple, and the quick start guide covered the installation quite well. We ended up having to install the product a second time because of an error in setting the root user’s password. On the second installation, we had no such problem with the password and the install was a success. The installation is through a series of Linux menus and very little information is needed to install the product. The information required was basic enough for even the most novice administrator to provide what is needed. Once the installation is finished, the configuration takes place through a web browser directed to the Corporate Guardian on port 81 for HTTP or port 441 for HTTPS. If you happened to miss this information during the install, it is readily available in the quick install guide. The configuration interface is far from intuitive, and reading the administrator’s guide becomes almost a necessity to configure the device.
Documentation in the quick start guide includes a very well done hard copy manual. Other documentation is available in PDF format. Plan to spend some time with the admin guide while configuring the product.
Support is available in all of the common formats from SmoothWall. This includes web, email and phone support for the installation. Ongoing support is $500 for 12 months.
The pricing for the SmoothWall offering was at the low end of the price spectrum. At $700, the product includes features which are only offered in products with a much higher price tag.