WatchGuard Technologies XCS 570
Strengths: Easy deployment, central management, comprehensive filtering and user-friendly encryption.
Weaknesses: SecureEmail is essentially a hosted solution, which may not be appropriate for users with more stringent security requirements.
Verdict: Perfect for administrators with limited email security experience, but who still need enterprise-grade protection.
Providing content filtering and encryption, the XCS 570 from WatchGuard Technologies allows administrators to easily combat data leakage. While we focused solely on its encryption and content filtering capabilities for this review, please note that the XCS 570 offers a host of other features to help control the flow of data in and out of your organization.
The XCS 570 ships as an appliance, so installation was simply a matter of connecting it to the network and powering it on. Configuration could not have been simpler. Connecting through a web browser, a first-run wizard guided us through the time zone, network and administrative user setup procedures. After the initial configuration, we were presented with a Frequent Tasks screen, which provided easy access to commonly used configuration tools.
The XCS 570 functions as a full-featured SMTP gateway, with anti-virus, anti-spam, external email encryption support and content filtering baked right in. With the optional SecureMail add-on, the XCS 570 provides easy-to-use encryption services. Messages can be encrypted automatically for users based on content, group membership or domain policies. Message encryption also can be triggered manually by way of a subject line tag. Users do not need to worry about certificates or key exchanges. However, first-time recipients of encrypted email do have to register through the SecureMail website in order to view their messages. The content-filtering feature is surprisingly easy to configure. WatchGuard provides a series of preconfigured content filters containing regular expressions, which cover common credit card number types. This makes filtering that data for PCI compliance purposes extremely simple. The solution also features a comprehensive pattern filter generator, which allows easy creation of pattern filter rules to filter on any part of the email header or content, including attachments.
Installation documentation comes on a CD and consists of a bookmarked PDF with descriptive section titles. Plenty of network diagram samples help indicate proper placement within the network topology. Numerous screen shots clearly illustrate the areas of the configuration screen discussed in the text. The user guide is available as an 18 MB downloadable PDF, or as an easily navigable HTML document, both on WatchGuard's website.
Each XCS 570 comes with 24/7 phone support, valid for the duration of its license term. Each license renewal also extends the phone support duration. Additionally, there is access to an online knowledge base, user support forums, configuration examples and certification, all through its online support center.
The WatchGuard XCS 570 with the one year Email Security Bundle retails for $6,500. However, this does not include the SecureEmail add-on, which starts at $225 for a five-seat bundle and which we consider a must. Given its ease of use and extensive functionality, we believe it is worth the price. Just keep in mind that if you have a large number of clients who require use of the SecureEmail feature, the price can quickly inflate.