WatchGuard XCS 880
Strengths: Easy to deploy with a robust feature set.
Weaknesses: Would like to see a streamlined activation process.
Verdict: A solid product especially for larger environments. Don’t pass it by if it meets your needs. You won’t be disappointed.
The XCS (Extensible Content Security) Appliance from WatchGuard provides solid email security and email content management in one easy-to-manage appliance. This product features protection from email-based viruses, spam, spyware, phishing and malware attacks, along with scanning both inbound and outbound email for policy violations and data leakage.
We found it to be quite easy to deploy and configure. Once the appliance was connected to the network and powered up, we were able to access the web-based setup wizard. After completing the few short steps of the wizard, we were able to access the web-based management interface. The only issue we had with the initial deployment of the product was the awkward way that WatchGuard made us license the appliance. We had to go to the vendor website and register for an account, then register the appliance and license keys before we could active the tool. We would have liked to see a more seamless process.
With that said, we did have an easy time with the rest of the appliance setup and configuration. We found the web-based management console to be easy and intuitive to navigate with a well-organized tab-top layout. One feature we found that really added to the overall ease of use and functionality of the appliance was the DLP Wizard. Rather than having us mess around trying to build data loss policy from scratch, this wizard helped us set policy based on identifiers, such as credit card numbers, identification numbers and medical and financial compliance terms. Further, the dashboard is quite informative with a clean minimal layout that provided an excellent overview of mail and web activity passing through the appliance.
Documentation included a short quick-start guide and a full online manual. The quick-start guide provided a good overview of how to get the appliance registered, licensed and running with a basic configuration in just a few short steps. The online manual then provided in-depth detail on post-installation tasks, administration and advanced configuration. We found all documentation to provide clear, step-by-step instructions, configuration examples and screen shots.
As part of the purchase price, WatchGuard includes the first year of its 24/7 LiveSecurity Plus support program, which includes phone- and email-based technical aid and product updates. After the first year, customers must purchase additional assistance through an agreement. Customers also get no-cost access to a large support area on the vendor website. This includes a knowledge base, user forum, documentation downloads, customer support portal and many other helpful resources.
We found this product to have a good value for the money. While it may seem pricey at first - with the appliance coming in at just over $17,000 to get started - we found this to be a powerful tool with a lot of features and functionality for the price. This cost also does not include the email encryption module, which must be licensed separately. However, we still found this product to be an excellent value for larger environments that need robust email security and content management functionality.