Cisco Email Security (ESA) Review

Efficient and fast, the solution is almost transparent in its operation


What is our primary use case?

Protection against external email threats is our primary use case.

How has it helped my organization?

Less spam means more productivity; less time is wasted, helping both users and the security team.

What is most valuable?

Anti-Spam and Advanced Malware Protection are the most valuable features. They provide protection from most email threats and we also have the option to block Zero-day attacks.

What needs improvement?

The configuration UI should be made more intuitive. Currently, it takes a while to understand how to do the basic configurations.

In terms additional features, I would like to see customization of reports and dashboards.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

IronPort is indeed a very stable solution, including both software and hardware.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is very good. We have not faced any hiccups over the years with a 15 percent increase per year in the number of users. We currently have 3,000-plus users in our organization.  It is one of the main security controls we have and is used extensively. We don't have any plans at the moment to increase usage, but that might change.

How are customer service and technical support?

We connect through a local/regional partner. Cisco is not good in dealing proactively or even reactively, so we end up relying on partners.

How was the initial setup?

I cannot answer in detail about the initial setup because it was done before my tenure began. In general, it is a complex configuration.

Regarding an implementation strategy, it is best to define basic policies that deal with malware and spam-blocking which apply to the whole organization and then configure specific policies for individual and departmental needs.

Deployment shouldn't take more than a couple of hours for a team of two engineers.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI in the processing time. It processes efficiently and fast. It is almost transparent in its operation. We only need to worry about our email infrastructure. Security and performance-wise, it does not add any overhead or latency.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I am familiar with McAfee and Symantec to some extent. But we have not used those solutions in our production environment. I can't say much about specific differences between the solutions, but Cisco is more stable and we have not faced any issues with its detection capabilities that would make us look at other solutions.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be to have a very good partner because Cisco will not be proactive in helping and educating you.

It has a complex UI and configuration menu but the product works well, both in terms of security and performance.

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