written by: Tom Olzak, CISSP•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 2/5/2012
SpamTitan is an inexpensive yet full-featured, easy to manage solution for businesses seeking to protect their users and networks from spam and other internet security threats. Read on to find out more in this review of SpamTitan.
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What is SpamTitan
SpamTitan, a product of Copperfasten Technologies, is an email scanning solution. Using multiple anti-spam and anti-virus engines - including engines from Kaspersky Lab and ClamAV - to optimize effectiveness (Copperfasten claim that SpamTitan has a 95% detection rate with only minimal false-positives), it is highly scalable via virtualization. I walked through a self-directed online demo (very nice) and participated in a Web demo with the vendor. The following are my impressions.
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Ease of installation
Installing SpamTitan is certainly not for those unfamiliar with how networks and addressing work. The initial configuration requires stepping through a maze of settings that should only be attempted by experienced network engineers. However, businesses without their own IT staff, or engineers with limited experience with this type of product, can take advantage of SpamTitan's remote support and configuration capability. Simply select the remote support option, and the SpamTitan support team can remotely access the system, fine tuning or troubleshooting your setup. Figure 1 shows the various setup categories.
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Price to Value
Like all email filtering solutions I've seen, SpamTitan prices by user. However, the price is more than manageable. The smallest number of licenses available is 100 for $550, or $5.50 per seat. The price falls as the number of licenses increases, as shown in Table 1. The purchase price includes the first year's maintenance. But don't let the low price throw you. There is a lot of functionality packed into this product.
Three anti-spam filters scan email for spam content. See Figure 2. SpamTitan also offers OCR scanning to stop spammers using images instead of text. Messages are scanned for viruses, worms, and other message-borne malware with two anti-malware scanners: Clam AV and Kaspersky AV. SpamTitan is configured out-of-box to auto-update all scanning engine signature files, and for-fee product licenses, like Kaspersky, are included in the per seat cost.
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Day-to-day System Management
Once SpamTitan is configured, it is easy to use. Day-to-day operations start with a look at the system dashboard, shown in Figure 3. The Scan Summary is a useful tool for justifying email security expenses to management. The System Overview provides performance data so you know when it might be time to add another SpamTitan appliance. Other information, useful for network vulnerability and source IP blocking tasks, includes:
Top 10 Virus Relays
Top 10 Spam Relays
The dashboard also provides at-a-glance status of the AV scanners. An additional management feature is a series of graphs, supplied out of the box, that depict daily statistics. See Figure 4.
Overall, monitoring system health and identifying email anomalies are easy tasks to perform.
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Managing Quarantined Messages
Once any email filtering system is configured and running smoothly, the biggest potential time-waster can be supporting users who believe important email was incorrectly flagged and placed in the message quarantine area. SpamTitan minimizes this effort with easy-to-use reporting, search, and quick-check tools. Figure 5 shows the quarantine search/management utility. Messages can either be delivered, whitelisted, or deleted from this interface. Other quarantine features include:
Assignment of administrators by domain, providing granular control that allows distributed management
User or group whitelisting or blacklisting
Messages users claim are valid, but appear questionable, can be checked with SpamTitan's built-in spam test. Sample results are shown in Figure 6. Using these results, email administrators can decide whether a message presents significant risk or whether delivery is warranted.
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Help and Support
Help is available for every panel under every tab. And this isn't just a half-hearted attempt so the vendor can claim it exits. Rather, the help provided is clear, limits technical jargon, and is actually helpful. If an administrator gets stuck, there's always the built-in remote support functionality.
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When I first looked over the ratings I gave this product, I was concerned. They looked too high, slanting in favor of the vendor. However, after several passes to check my results, I believe they represent the actual value and functionality of this product.
I've looked at several email filtering products, and I actually use one (unfortunately, not SpamTitan). In my opinion, this is the best I've seen so far.
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Tables and Figures (Hover for caption, click to enlarge)