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Risk

7/16/2009
12:11 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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SonicWall Adds Ambitious Anti-Spam Tools To SMB Firewalls

Firewall company SonicWALL has added high-level anti-spam features to the features and services integrated in its Unified Threat Management Firewalls, aiming to block spam at the network gateway, as well as at remote or mobile locations using the company's firewalls.

Firewall company SonicWALL has added high-level anti-spam features to the features and services integrated in its Unified Threat Management Firewalls, aiming to block spam at the network gateway, as well as at remote or mobile locations using the company's firewalls.SonicWALL's just-announced Comprehensive Anti-Spam Service (CASS) takes a scan-and-filter at the network gateway approach to spam, rather than a blacklist block based on addresses of known spammers and spam servers.

"Traditional IP reputation-based anti-spam defenses are no longer enough," Ed Cohen, SonicWALL corporate development VP said in a conversation this morning. "The spammers are moving too quickly, changing tactics and adapting techniques designed to make them more difficult to detect while making themselves and their threat more dangerous."

That said, he acknowledges that reputation-based management (blacklists) can deal with up to 80% of spam. But with more than 90% of all e-mail traffic now spam, that 20% that gets around the known bad-rep block is a lot of spam.

"We tackle the remaining 20% with advanced content management tools," Cohen said, "filtering for spammer tricks, message structure and attachments, links, images."

The new service imposes no filesize limitations, and provides the same level of scrutiny to all traffic on all network ports. The hybrid of rules, content filtering and management, and cloud-based filtering is touted as running in near real-time.

The service monitors both inbound and outbound traffic, the latter important for compliance and regulatory reasons, Cohen noted, as well as basic business security.

Designed to integrate with the company's unified anti-virus and intrusion tools directly at the firewall, the service is available at various price levels for SonicWALL customers, depending upon the number of users involved and the term of the service subscription. That price, Cohen suggested, ranges from $1 to $3 per user per year.

CASS looks to me to be well-worth a close look for small and midsized businesses (fewer than 150-200 seats) with a SonicWALL firewall in place.

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