GCN Lab Review | Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway P600

Pros: Redundant power supply, redundant Ethernet cables

Cons: Complicated to administer

Price: $18,000

Spam protection: B+

Virus protection: A

Ease of setup: B+

Ease of maintenance: B+

Value: B+


Proofpoint had one of the Reviewer's Choice products in last year's roundup, but that was before we started judging ease of setup and maintenance. Last year it took a company engineer a full day to get the Proofpoint appliance up and running, so we were expecting something similar this year. Thankfully, Proofpoint has streamlined the setup interface on their P600. But ongoing maintenance proved a bit tricky.

The unit offers built-in redundancy, a plus for agencies that require constant uptime for their e-mail services. There is a completely redundant power supply and a hot-swappable 146GB disk in a RAID-1 configuration. There are even two Ethernet ports, both of which are capable of processing mail should the other cable or port fail.
Once the unit is online, the Web interface is a bit complicated. There are a series of tabs along the left side of the screen, and clicking on any of them opens up an information panel on the right side.

This is not overly difficult, but there is a lot more that you can do in terms of tweaking the scanning engine and even directing policy scanners on the outbound mail stream, so a novice should probably not try to mess with it too much.

On the closed test network, the device performed well, stopping 99.8 percent of all viruses we sent its way and correctly identifying 99.9 percent of the legitimate e-mail. Against spam, however, it didn't do quite as well as some others in this review, stopping 983 of the 1,000 spam e-mails. As with other appliances we tested, this is out-of-the-box functionality. If you want to lock down your spam protection even further, the Web interface provides the tools.

The P600 is the most expensive system in the roundup with a government price of $18,000. Granted, it's an enterprise-class box, but considering its performance is just on par with systems costing thousands less, you might determine the P600 is too expensive.

Proofpoint Inc., Cupertino, Calif., (408) 517-4710, http://www.proofpoint.com

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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