Commercial Content Filtering Products

Matt Hampton matt at
Tue Nov 7 11:46:30 GMT 2006

Randal, Phil wrote:
> I saw on another mailing list today someone boasting what a good job
> their Barracuda was doing - getting 87% of their incoming spam.

Upfront: I work for a reseller of a number of products including a
managed MailScanner solution but this is my opinion.

Barracuda are just SpamAssassin with RBLs.  Which they do not provide
licenses for use see (the
bottom section).

An interesting one I have seen recently is I-Critical but that doesn't
have all of the features that MailScanner has (although they are adding
some new stuff in the near future but won't give the details). The offer
a managed service, appliance or a CD but the offer remote management of
all of the boxes.

MIME-Sweeper (from Clearswift) is well known but people have
historically had issues with the support.

For the "Biggies" get a quote from MessageLabs (or Black Spider).

What I will say is this - when you are comparing prices you need to take
into account the proportion of your time to keep the system up to date.
   You will also need to account for when you aren't around - another
person needs training.

These take a significant chunk out of the high prices that appliances
seem and can actually be more expensive.

The flexibility that MailScanner (and from I have seen and heard about
DefenderMX) far exceeds that of other commercial products.

So the balance to consider is:

MailScanner:    Pros: Flexibility and you are in control
		      Low set up cost and on going
	        Cons: Your + another's time setting up and the ongoing
		      managing and keeping it up to date.

Appliance:      Pros: It's a black box
                      Someone else supports it
                Cons: It's a black box
                      Someone else supports it
                      Tied to feature set
                      High Setup cost
                      Recurring license costs
                      Increased throughput requires new box

Managed Service Pros: Someone else manages keeps it up to date
                      It's a black box
                      Per user fee so easily scalable
                      Distributed facilities
		Cons: It's a black box
                      Initial per user cost is high
                      Tied feature set

> I can probably get 87% by the use of sendmail's GreetPause, the
> RBL at MTA level, and milter-greylist 3.0rc greylisting
> a handful of RBLS, without even getting anywhere near spamassassin.

I am getting slightly higher than this:

I use smf-sav (for both sender and recipient verification), smf-grey
(patched to only do grey listing on sending systems on 1 or more RBL's),
GreetPause, IP->Host->IP checks on client IP and milter-link and

Of the mail that gets through this - 19% is tagged as spam of which just
over half is marked as High Spam.

I am getting about 0.01% False Negative rate from
MailScanner/SpamAssassin and about  0.2% FP from the Client IP checks.

I have had no reported FP from MailScanner/SpamAssassin since the
beginning of the month.


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