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Review: Symantec Mail Security Makes Midmarket Splash

Midsize business have traditionally been overlooked in the security market and often have to rely on poorly integrated tools to meet their e-mail protection needs. Tools designed for small businesses do not provide enough protection, and enterprise-class tools often include too much power, overwhelming functionality and high management overhead. In most cases, spam filtering is done either on the e-mail server or at the desktop level, while antivirus and malware protection is scattered across various network resources. Adding to that management nightmare is the fact that very few of these ill-fitting products offer integration with network directories or management consoles, making security difficult—sometimes even impossible—to manage properly.

Symantec's new Mail Security 8200 series of security appliances promises to bring enterprise-class e-mail security to the midsize-business market. The 8200 series combines common security features with advanced e-mail filtering to protect networks of 100 to more than 1,000 users.

Symantec hopes to fill a niche in the e-mail protection market with the 8200 series, which is currently available in two models—the 8240 for 100 to 1,000 users and the 8260 for more than 1,000 users. Both are 1U rack-mountable units. The 8240 incorporates a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor with 1.5 Gbytes of RAM, while the 8260 has dual 3GHz Xeon processors and 2 Gbytes of RAM.

For redundancy, the 8240 includes dual 40-Gbyte hard drives, while the 8260 offers dual 73-Gbyte hard drives, redundant power supplies and fans. Both units offer antispam, antivirus, traffic shaping, LDAP integration capabilities and policy-based rules.

Symantec's 8200 series models are managed through a browser-based, wizard-driven management console. CRN Test Center engineers were impressed with the simplicity of the management tasks and especially with the fact that solution providers should be able to deploy the unit in less than an hour. While many solutions simply focus on incoming network traffic, Symantec emphasizes outbound network traffic as well. This is a great feature for enforcing company e-mail polices or meeting legislative compliance requirements. The e-mail content filtering engine is easy to deploy and incredibly robust, allowing even the most complicated rule sets to be broken down into simple, easily audited steps.

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