by October 11, 2003 0 comments



CS MAILsweeper 4.3 is more than just an anti-spam utility as it provides multiple levels of e-mail-management options. It is a part of the MIMEsweeper suite of content-security products which includes e-sweeper and MAILsweeper for Exchange and Domino etc. Depending on the size of the network, the software can be deployed in a standalone mode (only one machine runs MAILsweeper) or in a distributed mode (multiple machines are configured with specific features). The software handles both incoming and outgoing mail. The interface for MAILsweeper is integrated in a MS Management Console from where you can access all the features and have online help. You can also go through the software’s PDF manual. 

The efficacy of the software lies in creating and administering ‘scenarios’. Scenarios are a set of policies that can be selectively administered to groups of users in an organization. You can create user groups or select existing LDAP-based groups. This is what makes the software customizable. For e.g. you can create a group of all the employees in the marketing team and another of the accounting team and so on, and allow certain attachments, say, images to reach the marketing group and not the accounting group. A Wizard creates these Scenarios. For instance, if you want all attachments to be stripped from incoming e-mail, you will set up a scenario with options to specify which types of attachments you want to remove–binary, executable, multimedia containers with extensions CAB, MSG etc. Next follows the selection of the user groups for whom the scenario should apply and finally you have to create the ‘classification’, where the action to be taken is specified. Multiple scenarios can share ‘Classifications’. There are 11 action options. You can choose from ‘deliver’ the message, to delete or quarantine to sending an automated reply to the sender and so on.

For spam protection, there are sets of expressions you can add to and change. There are also expression-lists for profanity and script commands. You can get sample policies from an application called Policy Mate, which can be downloaded from their website. These expression-lists are supported for English and Japanese. For virus checking, there is the ability to use third party anti-virus executables. These have to be applied using the Scenario Wizard. Spam protection is elementary, with expression-matching being the route adopted. You could also set up scenarios to match incoming e-mail headers. The rules list is not updated from a central resource, and there is no self-learning. You have to create fresh rules all the time to keep up with evolving spam. The easier alternative is to call third party anti-spam software from within the application to do the job.

Reporting is pretty extensive. You can use an SQL database or a plain text report. SQL-based reports produce useful graphs and charts. The reports can be exported into a number of formats including MS Word, MS Excel and HTML. 

The software has many configuration options and you must sit with the manual and online help to learn it. It has scenarios, classifications and actions to be setup. If a specific action statement like ‘deliver to user’ is not included, mail matching the classification is deleted without any warning. But the company does provide on-site support at no extra cost and you can access their website’s support area with a user login and ID provided at the time of purchase. This is valid from 1 to 3 years, depending on the support you buy.

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Features : Supports multiple-language expressions
Pros : Customizable, supports 3rd party integration 
Cons : Takes time to learn and implement
Price : Rs 85,000 (50 users), access to online support extra
Contact : MIEL e-Security,
Mumbai.
Tel : 28215394/050
E-mail : sbangera@mielesecurity.com  

The MIMEsweeper products are available in India through MIEL Security Pvt Ltd based in
Mumbai.

BottomLine: A good solution for content security, useful for organisations that need to control what mail and attachments can go in or come out. But, its anti-spam part is not robust enough. It is better that you use a separate software for that. Setup and rules updation is fairly complex. 

Shruti Pareek

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