Cisco Secure Email Review

Advanced Malware Protection feature works very well, and the solution provides SDF, DKIM, DMARC, and encryption


What is our primary use case?

We are an internet service provider with over 1,000 customers. All our customers need a reliable solution for email security and this solution from Cisco helps us to implement the customers' needs and to offer the security the customers want.

We are using all the appliances on premises. They are virtual appliances only. We are not using the cloud because we own our data center.

How has it helped my organization?

With Talos threat intelligence we are protected. I cannot guarantee, 100 percent, that the protection will always be there because something new can appear on the market, something that Talos doesn't know, but we are confident that Talos assures us of all the security we need. We are happy to be using it.

We have a customer who was looking at our product catalog, what we offer, and he said, "I don't need this email security appliance because at my company things are secure without that." The prices are quite expensive for the security appliance and the customer wanted to manage his business without it. After some weeks, the customer came to us and said, "Help me please. We have received malware in our company and now all the data is compromised." After that, the customer chose to buy this email security appliance because his security was as important as anything else. We have more examples like that, that have happened in the last year. You are never secure without some solution from Cisco.

When it comes to preventing downtime, the Cisco Security Email appliance protects our customers so that they don't lose their information and can continue working. I am sure that many of our customers have been attacked with ransomware and with malware and this solution protects them.

What is most valuable?

  • I love the Advanced Malware Protection feature. It works very well. 
  • Our customers are very happy to use the AMP sandboxing solution. 
  • The appliance has more security such as SDF, DKIM, DMARC, and encryption. 

There are a lot of security features that we can implement.

All the appliances are connected with Cisco Talos and they check, in real time, with Cisco Talos. AMP is using Cisco Talos, and we have other products from Cisco, such as web security and AMP for Endpoints, that are using Cisco Talos too. Talos is a very important tool that speaks with all Cisco products.

What needs improvement?

We have been struggling in the last month with Cisco encryption and with the S/MIME encryption. I don't know if it is an issue on our side or if these features of the solution are not working very well. The documentation is good but I'm not sure if the functionality in these areas of the solution is implemented very well. We are evaluating the situation.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using Cisco Secure Email for between eight and 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution has made a very good impression. In the last two or three versions, I haven't found bugs or anything that could affect the stability.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been fine so far. We are very happy to use the cluster functionality in the ESA. 

The same type of clustering in the ESA has not been implemented for Cisco web security and we have been waiting for years for that functionality for the web security. But in the Secure Email it's working very well and we are happy with it.

How are customer service and technical support?

Sometimes the customer support for Germany is good and sometimes it's very bad. We have over 200 technicians and we have been working with Cisco products for 15 to 20 years. We have a lot of knowledge. If someone in customer support knows less than us, it is difficult to get them to understand what we are looking for or what our needs are. Sometimes we need to escalate, to ask for another technician who can help us. There are times when it takes days or weeks until we receive good customer support from Cisco or from this company that supports Cisco. And when there is an issue for our customer, a few days or a few weeks could result in a disaster.

How was the initial setup?

I have deployed some 100 email security appliances, so from my side the deployment is very intuitive and simple. We don't have difficulty deploying it in our data center.

We create our own template in our virtual environment, and from this template we are deploying further security measures. To deploy it virtually takes about 30 minutes and after that the customization for our customer could take from half an hour to a few hours, depending on how complex it is.

We have five to 10 people involved in deployment of the solution. The people who work with it are technicians, the system administrators, administrators, and people in IT SecOps.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We tested only two other solutions, the Trend Micro product and the Check Point product, so I can't compare Cisco with all the solutions out there, but it's all the solution we need. For phishing and malware it's doing a good job.

We didn't like the instability with Trend Micro. Check Point was complicated to use; it was a very complex system. The Cisco system is intuitive, simple to use and simple to understand. I am a technician in our company, so I don't know which solution is cheap or which is expensive. But for the functionality we stay with Cisco because Cisco is our partner and this email appliance can connect with other Cisco products. They work together and that gives us confidence in using Cisco Secure Email.

What other advice do I have?

When it comes to preventing phishing and business-email compromise, in the last year the efficacy has been improved. For four or five years this solution didn't work as well, but last year and this year we have seen that with every new version, the efficacy is there, and the solution is working better and better. Our customers are happy to use it. It has made a great impression in this area.

Similarly, regarding spam, malware, and ransomware, in the last few years the solution was not so good but there was not so much malware. However, these days, the email solution from Cisco does a real good job of preventing malware.

About half of our customers use Office 365. A lot of customers, if they are migrating to Office 365 from an on-premises Exchange server, choose to increase their security with Cisco. The combination of Cisco Secure Email and Office 365 is working very well. Since this migration to Office 365 started, over the last two to three years, we have had no complaints from our customers.

We have trusted Cisco's email security for eight or nine years and we are going to use it in the future. We recommended it to our customers. We are happy with how it works, with the stability, features, and functions.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
**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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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