Cisco Secure Email OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

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

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: September 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."
  • "Compared to Cisco's on-prem service, the cost is the same, but you don't have to pay for the hardware and you don't have to maintain the system, as far as upgrades and hardware failures are concerned. It is cheaper to operate on their cloud service than it is to operate with their on-prem service."
  • "There are additional fees for adding features."
  • "At times, we feel the pricing is a bit too high, but then, there is also room for discounts. We enjoy a lot of discounts, and that is why we are still with them. There are no costs in addition to the standard licensing fees."
  • "The licensing was all transferred."
  • "Cisco Secure Email and the support are priced well. It's not cheap, but there are other solutions that offer less and cost so much. For example, Microsoft is more expensive than Cisco."

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Phillip Collins
Sr Infrastructure Engineer at Delta Plastics of the South
Real User
Top 20
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
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: September 2021.
535,544 professionals have used our research since 2012.
SD
Senior Infrastructure Engineer at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Better at catching both spam and malicious messages than the competition, and provides very granular rule setup

What is our primary use case?

The big use case is filtering inbound messages for spam and malicious messages. Obviously, it's a huge issue for everyone to keep as much of that stuff out as possible.

Pros and Cons

  • "The filtering is definitely better at catching both spam and malicious messages, and there's a lot of extremely granular ability for setting up rules. You can do it the way you want to. The Microsoft solution tends to be pretty limited in how it allows some of that to be done."
  • "The interface is dated. It has looked pretty much the same for 15 years or so. It would be helpful to be able to do everything from one spot. The centralized quarantine and reporting are completely separate from policy administration."

What other advice do I have?

It's definitely worth looking at Cisco's cloud email security offering. It's surprisingly simple to get going with, and it really is easier to use than the on-prem because of everything they have built into it. It is surprisingly cost-effective. It's integrated with their AMP product, although that's sold as a part of it. We haven't integrated it with other Cisco stuff at the moment. We've got third-party stuff that we have it integrated with.
Mark Rodrigue
IT Admin / Manager at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Low rate of false positives, good support, and it integrates well with other Cisco security products

What is our primary use case?

All of our inbound and outbound emails flow through the CES environment and we leverage it for spam filtering, phishing filtering, malicious URL detection, attachment scanning, and data leak protection. It basically covers all of the security layers for email.

Pros and Cons

  • "The malicious URL scanning, as well as the anti-malware features, have been really useful for us in our environment."
  • "The UI is definitely one area of improvement because it doesn't match other interfaces and the navigation can be a little clunky."

What other advice do I have?

For the future, we are looking at moving to newer versions that allow for additional advanced phishing protection. That's something that we're targeting. Also, we're trying to figure out how to streamline our mail flow with the majority of our inbound and outbound email that is now flowing through Office 365. Essentially, we're figuring out how we can tighten up that integration and lessen our dependence on on-premises Exchange for our mail flow. With respect to versioning, it is controlled by Cisco. I believe that version 13.5 is when they introduced the advanced phishing protection. We're…
Charles Nana
Network Security Engineer at Galaxy Backbone Ltd
Real User
Top 10
Good support, integrates well with SMA, and does what it is designed to do

What is our primary use case?

It is our email gateway. We have the Exchange Servers, but the Exchange Servers don't relay directly with the internet. We have ESA in-between, and every incoming and outgoing email must pass through ESA before it gets to the internet. We are using Email Security Appliance C690, and we have three of them in a cluster. They are on-premise. We have decided not to go to the cloud. It is primarily because most of our clients are government agencies and the government, and they have this suspicion about the cloud. So, right now, we are still on-premise. Currently, we are on version 13.8. There is a… more »

Pros and Cons

  • "It is doing its work. It is doing what it was actually designed to do. It has ensured we don't have business email compromises, and it has also ensured that our brand Galaxy is unique all year round."
  • "The area of license renewal should be improved. We normally renew our license every year. There is a feature called smart licensing, and I switched from the legacy mode to the smart licensing mode because of what I thought smart licensing does. I thought it would make licensing renewal seamless and very swift, but ever since I've switched to smart licensing, each time I want to renew my license, it is a whole lot of headache. The process is not smooth, and I had to keep calling Cisco TAC to see how the issue can be resolved. At one point, I wanted to revert back to the legacy mode, but I can't revert. Once you switch from the legacy mode to the smart licensing mode, you can't revert. They should improve on the visibility of the smart licensing mode so that it can indeed be smart and easier to use for the license renewal every year. That is one challenge."

What other advice do I have?

It is stable and credible. I would always tell someone else to try it out. Of course, before you try it out, you can look at what Gartner is saying. Gartner has always placed the Cisco Email Security Appliance up there along with Mimecast and other top players. It is well-secured. Security is everyone's concern, so I will always tell people to go for it. It is very secure. Its pricing has been a little bit high, but you can always ask for a discount from your account managers, country manager, or whoever is in charge in your region. I would rate this solution an eight out of 10.
RL
Email Adminstrator at Merchants Capital Resources, Inc.
Real User
Top 20
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.

Pros and Cons

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

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…
Marian Melniciuc
Senior IT System Administrator at ScanPlus GmbH
Real User
Top 5
Advanced Malware Protection feature works very well, and the solution provides SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and encryption

What is our primary use case?

We are an internet service provider with a few hundred 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.

Pros and Cons

  • "I love the Advanced Malware Protection feature. It works very well... The appliance has more security such as SDF, DKIM, DMARC, and encryption."
  • "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."

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…
Daniel-Marti­nez
Security Technician at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Very configurable technology that combines AMP, Threat Grid, and Sandboxing

What is our primary use case?

We are using it as our email firewall. It's our first line of email defense.

Pros and Cons

  • "The solution is very configurable. It has enabled us to configure some specific filters to stop emails that general configurations didn't stop. It's a powerful solution. It can analyze a lot of emails simultaneously, with no problems of capacity or system load."
  • "They can do it better with web links, with the URLs. They have a technology called Outbreak but it doesn't work as well as we would like."

What other advice do I have?

It's a great solution for big enterprises that need a higher level of security than is offered by Microsoft solutions. Other solutions are targeted at smaller enterprises, that are without a security administrator and without people monitoring and supervising the technology. But for a big enterprise, Cisco Secure Email is a great option. We have integrated the solution with SecureX and Threat Grid, and we already had Talos, of course. The Sandboxing is needed, it's a basic functionality for us. As for the rest of the integrations, they are less important. We integrate with some external feeds…
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