Cisco Secure Email Overview

Cisco Secure Email is the #1 ranked solution in our list of top Email Security tools. It is most often compared to FireEye Email Security: Cisco Secure Email vs FireEye Email Security

What is Cisco Secure Email?

Customers of all sizes face the same daunting challenge: email is simultaneously the most important business communication tool and the leading attack vector for security breaches. Cisco Email Security enables users to communicate securely and helps organizations combat Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware, advanced malware, phishing, spam, and data loss with a multilayered approach to security.

Cisco Secure Email is also known as Cisco Email Security, IronPort, Cisco Email Security, ESA, Email Security Appliances.

Cisco Secure Email Buyer's Guide

Download the Cisco Secure Email Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: January 2021

Cisco Secure Email Customers

SUNY Old Westbury, CoxHealth, City of Fullerton, Indra

Cisco Secure Email Video

Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Cisco Secure Email pricing:
  • "You're going to get what you pay for. If you're not willing to pay the price of Cisco, you're not going to get a product that's as good as Cisco. I don't think Cisco is overpriced, because for the last two years I've been comparing it to Microsoft and Cisco has been cheaper and given us more features."
  • "In my previous organization, avoiding four instances of CryptoLocker within an estimated six month period is approximately $600,000 in lost time and effort. Our five year cost was about a million dollars, and the four outages that we had equated to 65 percent of that five year cost."
  • "We were using Proofpoint and then we switched to Cisco... reportability was one of the main reasons we switched, but the biggest one was cost. If you can get an equivalent functionality for a better price it's wise to do so. That's what our primary decision came down to: We could get equivalent functionality at a lower price point."
  • "The license was not per user, the license model was per feature. You could choose anti-virus, anti-spam, etc. It was feature-based and charged yearly."
  • "It is not that costly. We pay for the solution through a contractor and pay an annual fee."
  • "There were no other costs in addition to the standard licensing fees."

Cisco Secure Email Reviews

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Phillip Collins
Sr Infrastructure Engineer at Delta Plastics of the South
Real User
Top 5
Jun 23, 2020
Stops the vast majority of email from getting in, across our multiple email domains

What is our primary use case?

The main use case is simply as a point of contact for all the emails to go through first, before they ever get into the Office 365 environment, so they can be scanned and checked for malware and spam, all before Office 365 even sees it. We're currently on version 12. Our instance is in the cloud and we don't actually upgrade it, they do it for us. It should be upgraded to 13 in the next month or two.

Pros and Cons

  • "It does a great job of preventing spam, malware, and ransomware. I can only go by what people have told me and what I've seen, but I have not seen spam in a year and a half to two years in my own company mailbox. And there are not a lot of catches where it's catching something that should have gotten through, either."
  • "It has the ability to tell us, after an email has been delivered, where else it went, once it got inside. Maybe it's something we wanted it to stop and it didn't stop it, but it notified us later that it was something that it should have stopped. It can give us a trajectory of all the other places that it went internally and it can tell us what files were transferred as well."
  • "Typically, in a phishing email, they try to use a name everybody's going to recognize, like the CEO's name or the CFO's name... With this appliance, the way it's designed at the moment, for us to really stop that with any level of confidence, we have to build a dictionary of all the names of the people we want it to check, and all the ways they could be spelled. My name would be in there as Phillip Collins, Phillip D. Collins, Phillip Dean Collins, Phil Collins, Phil D. Collins. There could be eight or 10 variations of my name that we'd have to put in the dictionary. There's no artificial intelligence to say "Phil Collins" could be all these other things, and to stop phishing from coming through in that way."

What other advice do I have?

Take Cisco up on the offer to walk you through the implementation. It's not that it's a necessity, but it certainly gives you a good feeling, when you're done, that you've covered all your bases. It gave me a good feeling that we covered this and we covered that and they showed me where things were. They give you a copy of the recording where you were on with them and went through everything. You can go back and watch it again later to review it. The same thing is true with their reviews every nine to 12 months. They record them and send you a copy of the recording so you can go back and look…
Andrew Fisher
Digital Program Manager at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Nov 10, 2020
The amount of traffic that it stops is massive

What is our primary use case?

It is used as the primary perimeter gateway for our organization before you can access our environment. Being hosted with Cisco, it goes through Cisco Secure Email Cloud Gateway. Spam, marketing, malicious or virus-enabled emails are not delivered to us 90 to 91 percent of the time because they are stopped external to the organization. That is a massive win for us. We don't have to worry about having to deal with all those emails going through our email servers.

Pros and Cons

  • "Cisco Secure Email Cloud Gateway has allowed our users to be able to concentrate on the emails that they do receive. Previously, our users had to deal with nine million additional emails across the organization, which is nearly 1,000 emails per user to have to deal with a month. That's a massive amount for our staff to deal with and probably several hours of their time. We have a lot of clinical staff, being a hospital. We want to make our staff as productive as possible. By removing a lot of that spam and phishing type emails, this allows them to do their job."
  • "I would like more functionality and how to use it for Level 2 type staff. The biggest issue is it needs to be easier to use and navigate."

What other advice do I have?

Don't have an organization that doesn't have this sort of protection in place. If I was to be in another organization, and they didn't have this sort of protection, I would definitely be advocating that they get something in very quickly. Don't hesitate: The benefits are there. It can be seen as being a large cost. However, if you've ever had any instances where you've been affected by malware or CryptoLocker, there are a number of things that you should be doing as an organization: perimeter email security, DNS protection, and removing USB access on devices. These are probably the top three…
Learn what your peers think about Cisco Secure Email. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
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Informate83d
Information Security Analyst at a healthcare company
Real User
Apr 24, 2019
Black-listing and white-listing are highly intuitive and easy to do

What is our primary use case?

It's our primary enterprise email gateway. It's the first stop for edge email security.

Pros and Cons

  • "It has the IMS engine, Intelligent Multi-Scan engine, and it does a good job, right out-of-the-box, of blocking the vast majority of things that should be blocked."
  • "It would be nice to have an easier way to check on the health of the system, how stressed these appliances are. Sure, you can do it, but it would be helpful to have an easier way to do it, maybe even at a glance."

What other advice do I have?

In retrospect, I would probably want to talk to someone like myself. I'm now using Cisco security appliances and I can see how someone like me in another agency would benefit from talking to me about: "Hey what do you see? How's it going? What have your experiences been with the product?" If you can, find someone who is actually using it and talk to them. In addition, it really depends on where you're coming from. The learning curve is going to be there regardless, because it's a new product. But if you're coming from a smaller email security platform up to this one, the learning curve is…
Security Officer
Regional ICT Security Officer EMEA at a energy/utilities company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Apr 25, 2019
Customized filtering has been very effective and useful for us

What is our primary use case?

We use it to secure our email system, to cut down on all the bad emails that we would otherwise receive. The reason for implementing the product was the huge increase in spam and junk mail which occurred when we were adopting these devices. There have been some changes in the way that email is delivered since then, and one or two of the major spam sources have been taken down or prosecuted or jailed. Today, we have less blanket-spam, but we have more targeted phishing emails or spear phishing. The combination of emails with links that encourage users to give away their user login information… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "Initially, the most valuable feature for us was the SenderBase Reputation, because that reduced the number of emails that were even considered by the system by a huge number..."
  • "We have occasionally had hardware problems because we are using an appliance-based solution, but that might change. We may consider going to virtual systems."

What other advice do I have?

Having a good understanding of the product helps in the implementation process, so do some upfront training before you adopt the product. Be closely involved with Cisco support or the Cisco implementation team which will help to make sure that configuration is well adjusted and suited to your company. I've used the product for more than ten years. Prior to that, it was IronPort. Cisco bought IronPort. We were using the IronPort products before Cisco bought them. We're currently using AsyncOS version 12. We've used this product for so long, and we've been very happy with it, that we do not have…
John Agunbiade
Network Security Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Consultant
Apr 16, 2019
Enabled us to set rules to block spam, and the user interface was easy to use

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case was email security, to protect against phishing mails, spam, malware, and viruses.

Pros and Cons

  • "The user interface was quite friendly, it was quite easy to use, unlike some other Cisco products. Anybody could use it. You don't have to be familiar with IT to be able to handle navigating it."
  • "We didn't get any malware, but a few phishing emails, maybe one or two, slipped in."

What other advice do I have?

Email security is a must-have, and as much as the cloud providers will tell you they have security, from our own experience, the vendors' security products are a bit superior. The reasons I chose Cisco Secure Email Gateway are the interface is - it's easy to use - and the support is great. Also, it's nice to have another gateway, not just the Cisco Secure Email Cloud Gateway because it has proven not to be enough. The organization I was working in where Cisco Secure Email Gateway was implemented had about 700 staff members, roughly 700 email boxes. There were no plans to increase usage of…
HeadOfSe948f
Security Engineer at a energy/utilities company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Apr 25, 2019
While the tool does a good job of blocking malicious emails, it does have limitations with its sandboxing

What is our primary use case?

It is an anti-spam solution, and we primarily use it for email anti-spam. It removes the spam emails, and we have our own manual filters to remove unnecessary or unwanted emails. So, it is working just fine. We have been using the solution for more than three years. We started on version 9 and are currently on version 11.1.

Pros and Cons

  • "We like the in-built features, like the email filtering based on the IP and domain. Cisco has its own blacklisted domains and IPs, which is very good. This filters around 70 percent of emails from spam, and we are seeing fewer false positives with this."
  • "The solution needs to improve its advanced phishing filters. It is very good at filtering things which have bad reputations. However, when phishing or malicious emails are new or coming from a legitimate source, we don't feel that the solution is working."

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend to use Cisco Email Security first as your email filtering solution, but do not rely on it as your only solution. I like the product because it is very easy to work with or we can make it complex if we want.
Gaurav Shakya
Information Security Administrator at a tech vendor
Real User
Apr 22, 2019
The logs, configuration, and monitoring were all key features for me

What is our primary use case?

We used Cisco Secure Email Gateway to filter spam. My overall experience with Cisco Secure Email Gateway was pretty good. No major issues were reported in my time. It worked fine for me.

Pros and Cons

  • "There were detailed logs available. That was a seriously good feature... It turns out these were actually spoof emails that came into our environment. I got to know about them from the log system."
  • "They could improve the filters. In my time at the company, there were several times we had to contact support to update the filters."

What other advice do I have?

Implementing it and support are good. Using it is also good. What remains is the technical expertise of the people who would be administering it. The thing you should have in mind when implementing it is that you have adequate resources, trained and skilled on this appliance so they can manage it. I was not that good. I was not that good with it at the time I started working on it. I had a few difficulties. I was lucky that nothing major happened during my time. Apart from that, the appliance itself was really good. Considering the support and all the parameters I have talked about, I would…
MichaelLawrence
Network Security Engineer at Konga Online Shopping Ltd
Real User
Top 20
Apr 16, 2019
Helped with mail filtering and load balancing between Exchange servers

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case was for email security and load balancing between Exchange mail servers.

Pros and Cons

  • "Users were able to do a check by themselves on quarantined emails. They could check if a valid email had been stopped, if it matched up with the SPF certification."
  • "One of the things that Cisco could improve on with IronPort is the support. Cisco doesn't really have enough engineers who have full, hands-on knowledge of IronPort. Knowledge of it is not something you can find easily compared to other security appliances."

What other advice do I have?

So far, so good. IronPort was fantastic. It's an awesome solution, but I don't think it's something for a small-sized organization due to the licensing cost. I think it's a great solution for email security. I would rate Cisco Secure Email Gateway at eight out of ten because of the awesome functionality and features. The only downside with it is the knowledge about it. When I was trying to enable cloud encryption services on it, allowing you to encrypt emails to send confidential emails to a third-party, the resources on that were not that grounded and the technology was somewhat difficult to…
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