Cisco Email Security (ESA) Review

Integrates with Active Directory and we can limit specific users to specific applications


What is our primary use case?

We are using two security appliances. One is a web security appliance, IronPort, as well as the email security appliance. They are used for web surfing.

How has it helped my organization?

We need to differentiate among users with specific boundaries. Some users have full access and some users only have limited access. That is what we are using it for.

What is most valuable?

It integrates with Active Directory and we can limit specific users to using specific applications. 

What needs improvement?

I would like to see a cloud service implemented for IronPort with specific domains which companies register to blacklist. Emails or anything coming from those domains should be automatically blocked or automatically scanned. Cisco should implement a cloud service for IronPort. It should scan automatically, without our needing to say, "Scan this," or "Scan that." It should be done from their side.

Also, the hardware is not up to the mark. Two to three times a year we have complete downtime. There must be an issue with the hardware itself. The software is very good. It works really well, but when it comes to the hardware it's not good enough because of the downtime. That hasn't happened with any Cisco device until now.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is really good for multiple users. There is no issue with the scale. We have 300 to 400 users.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is really good. As far as I know, whenever we need it, they help us very well. Within half an hour or an hour of our call, we get technical support to WebEx us, depending on the situation or the issue. That's pretty quick.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. There was nothing complicated. It doesn't take more than two engineers. When it comes to the software, if there is good coordination between a Cisco guy and an email-server guy, the two of them would be enough to implement it.

It was really easy to implement. Even a newcomer joining the company could easily implement it. There is nothing complicated in the device. It can be easily implemented without headaches.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We took a three-year license. In addition to the standard licensing, there is a cost for SMARTnet as well. That is necessary because the hardware device is not stable at all. So if anything goes wrong we have two appliances to use. With SMARTnet, Cisco will send a new device within a week.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are looking for a solution. We are in communication with other vendors to integrate with Email Security or to provide us a new solution.

What other advice do I have?

The Email Security Appliance, in my opinion, is a really good device. In terms of configuration of the software, it's just click, click, and you are done. If you have redundancy then you are in safe hands. It's a very good solution for email security.

We could be changing the appliance. I have heard from someone that Cisco has released some appliances for email security. I believe we need to try this. We may change our existing device and move to a new Cisco technology. We would keep the software. We usually upgrade it based on the newest versions.

Until now, I haven't seen any breach or any attack on the Email Security Appliance.

Overall, I would rate this solution at nine out of ten. I could give it a ten if the hardware was better.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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