Cisco Secure Email Review

Filters out links and spam, stopping junking from getting through

What is our primary use case?

We are using it for our email gateway security for all our inbound and outbound email. We use a lot of the URL filtering and spam filtering as well as the dictionaries, e.g., if they try to spoof employee names.

How has it helped my organization?

We didn't have an email gateway initially. As spam was ramping up, the junk was getting through. So, we needed a gateway. We then worked with a local company who sold us this product and some training as well as how to get it up and running, configuring it. Over the years, they have been constantly changing it.

What is most valuable?

We use a lot of their search features to search for emails that have come through. Our end users come through it. They say, "This didn't email didn't arrive," or "How did this email get through?" So, I am constantly searching through message tracing and using that all the time.

What needs improvement?

I use the search all the time. Sometimes, it is hard to search for things and things are hard to find. People come to me all the time, saying, "This email didn't get through." Then, I go searching and don't find it on the first search. You have to think about alternative searches. I don't know if there is an easier way that they could help to find things. I don't know how they could simplify it, because now everybody else is using the cloud and everything is coming from Office 365, or whatever. It is just not the same environment from years ago where everybody had their own server and you could search easier.

When you run a trace and you are in the cloud, it's harder. You run a trace and it generates trace results. I haven't figured out how to get those off of the cloud. I don't know if there is a path to open up a ticket on that.

For how long have I used the solution?

Before it was purchased by Cisco, we had already been using IronPort since 2005 or earlier.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. We have never had any problems.

The way we are using it now, it does require maintenance. I decided to take a zero trust for URL links coming in emails or unknown links. Then, if there is a link that somebody wants to get through, then I have to add that to the list to allow it. So, there are some dictionaries and things to maintain the way we are running it now that we didn't have in the past. For many years, we got it running, then forgot about it. It just ran and ran. Now, I think it is just a different environment due to the level of phishing emails, etc. 

The way that we are running it now, there is more to maintain, like the dictionaries and the list of employees, so somebody doesn't spoof an employee's name. It takes maybe an hour or so a week to update the dictionaries and things like that. 

Right now, I'm the only one maintaining it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is good. It seems like it still has capacity in the cloud. It is hard to tell in the cloud. However, the ones that we had on-prem were running real close to their limit for whatever reason: memory swapping and CPU utilization. So, we had to do something there. Right now, it seems like there is capacity/room to grow.

The solution protects 450 users. We plan to gradually increase users.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have always been good when helping with problems. They are responsive and always come up with an answer.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We migrated from Cisco ESA to Cisco Cloud Email Security. 

The appliances were getting close to the end of life. They were using a lot of CPU, so it was time to do something with them. IT management seems to be going more to the cloud now, so it made sense to go to the Cisco Cloud solution. The machines that we had on-prem were really slow. For whatever reason, they were getting real slow. When we went to the cloud, we got away from that problem.

How was the initial setup?

For the initial deployment, we might have spent a week getting it up and running. Then, we went for a day or two to training.

There wasn't really any downtime involved during the migration from our on-prem to Cisco Cloud Email Security, which was important to us. We didn't want to interrupt email flow. So, we prepared it, then there was a cutover. 

The migration from the vendor’s on-prem to Cloud Email Security wasn't too difficult.

What about the implementation team?

A few times, we needed Cisco's expertise in the migration process to solve some problems for free. Because it is in the cloud, you can't get to the command line interface to access and download/upload files. So, I had to rely on Cisco for that.

What was our ROI?

There is a huge return compared to if we didn't have a gateway appliance, as far as blocking malicious emails.

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

The licensing was all transferred. A fair amount of the configuration had to be done by hand. We didn't transfer the people safe list and block lists. There were a number of things that we didn't transfer because they were in the cloud. It was a matter of going through and reconfiguring.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The familiar user interface was important in our decision to migrate from Cisco’s on-prem to Cloud Email Security. We have a lot of other projects going on. Being able to migrate to something that we were already familiar with versus migrating to Proofpoint or something else was a major decision factor. I didn't have to invest that much time, resources, and learning in a whole new product.

If you compare it over Proofpoint, it was a big savings. It was very competitive. It saved us from buying new appliances. Though, I don't know that would have been a big expense, because I didn't do a cost analysis of staying on-prem and replacing the appliances. We were more comparing the solution to Proofpoint, and the cost was considerably less than Proofpoint. It was already in place and working for us on-prem. So, I didn't want to move to Proofpoint because there would have been much more to learn.

Some of the things that we were doing in Cisco, we can't do it the same way in Proofpoint, from as much as I have looked at it. I know there is a difference. They have different solutions. They have some solutions that aren't configurable at all, such as, the lower price ones. They have another one where you are just like a tenant and everybody gets the same thing, then for it to be customizable, it is a lot more expensive. In orders of magnitude, it is more expensive than Cisco, which didn't make sense. With all the little tweaks and customizations that we're doing, I couldn't see how to do that based on the time I spent looking at Proofpoint. It might be doable, but I didn't figure out how to do it. So, I think Cisco is a little more configurable than Proofpoint for tweaking. I could be wrong, but that is my impression.

What other advice do I have?

There wasn't much of a learning curve involved in migrating from Cisco’s on-prem to Cloud Email Security because they are very similar. There were just a few things that were different.

It is a good product. Be prepared to invest time in learning it, like anything. You need to have somebody who is a key administrator, like any enterprise-level product that you would bring in. Even if you will have Salesforce or whatever, you need to have an administrator who knows how to keep it running.

Email threats just keep getting worse and worse, so you need to keep on your toes.

I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10).

Which version of this solution are you currently using?

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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