CASS is SonicWall's cloud-based implementation of the inbound anti-spam portion of SonicWall's email security solution. CASS is intended as a less expensive, easier-to-manage alternative to using a separate appliance to provide inbound mail filtering. SonicWall's appliances also provide outbound mail filtering.
According to Swarup Selvaraman, product line manager for SonicWall's email security line, the CASS service checks email by doing DNS lookups from within the firewall against SonicWall's cloud databases -- "this typically catches 80 to 90 per cent of spam." The remainder is sent to SonicWall's cloud service, which returns mail either tagged as "Good" for delivery to user mailboxes, or as "Bad," to be sent to the SonicWall "Junk Store," where it can be searched by administrators and users.
SonicWall CASS includes inbound anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-malware, GRID IP Reputation, Advanced Content Management, Denial of Service prevention, full quarantine and customizable per-user junk summaries. CASS works with SonicWall's Unified Threat Management Firewalls and can be quickly deployed to most existing SonicWall appliances.
"We are targeting the sub-100 user companies only looking for inbound protection," said Selvaraman. "This combination lets you manage both the firewall and anti-spam from one interface."
SonicWall CASS has a yearly subscription flat fee, which is based on the SonicWall appliance it is being used on. For example, $360/year for use with a SonicWall TZ210 firewall (typically used for sites with 25 to 50 users); for use with a SonicWall NSA 2400 Series Security Appliance, around $975/year.
For comparison, the cost of a SonicWall email security appliance start around $1,800, for one suitable for 25 to 50 users (providing both inbound and outbound filtering) is around $1,800; higher-end hardware can cost up to $18,00, according to Selvaraman. And there is still an annual subscription fee; for example, according to Selvaraman, a 24-user subscription is around $400/year.
Because CASS is less expensive than other full-featured anti-spam/malware services, SonicWall firewall/antispam solutions are a good price fit for small-to-midsize businesses, according to SonicWall. SonicWall claims that CASS "offers businesses enterprise-class spam protection at a fraction of the cost of other fully-featured anti-spam services."
New features of CASS 2.0 include Allow/Block Lists on per-user and global basis; integrating support for multiple LDAP servers; and improvements to the "junk store" configurations and control. "We now offer very granular control of allow and block," said Selvaraman. "So, for example, one person can allow a specific email address or company, while somebody else can block it."