If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering Cisco Email Security, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
This is a great product with wonderful support. You won't have any issues.
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.
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 a direct comparison against other products that are available today. That said, and accepting the fact that email security systems are not cheap, this product is still a front-runner and, combined with the new things that Cisco is doing, it has a lot of scope and capability. I would suggest this product would be about a nine, if ten is the best.
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 going to be steep. You may actually want to invest the time and the money into some additional training. Don't neglect that because if you just try to rely on Cisco support you're going to notice pretty consistent slowdowns. If that's okay, then it won't be an issue. Of course, it's always okay until something urgent comes up. If you're trained up, you can handle it yourself. Nobody knows everything, but it's in your best interest to know as much as possible.
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.
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 give ESA a nine out of ten.
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 ESA 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 configure. The way the technology works for email encryption services is not ideal because once you send an email to someone, he has to click on a link and be redirected to a web portal, rather than having everything done on his email platform.
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 ESA 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 cloud email security because it has proven not to be enough. The organization I was working in where ESA was implemented had about 700 staff members, roughly 700 email boxes. There were no plans to increase usage of ESA at that organization. The reality now is that if your emails are on O365, O365 offers you some form of cloud email security. For most organizations, they're looking for business justification to keep ESA when Microsoft, for example, is offering cloud protection for your mailboxes on O365. In a case like that, you really don't expand business on ESA. Now that mailboxes are no longer on-prem, and the cloud provider is offering you email security, the way they sell is that you cannot say have your email on the cloud without paying for cloud security. There is really not much expansion on ESA from a business standpoint, if your mailbox is with a cloud provider. I would give ESA an eight out of ten. We didn't get any malware, but a few phishing emails, maybe one or two, slipped in. There is really no vendor, in my experience, that I would rate at ten out of ten.
There is no totally comprehensive solution in cybersecurity. I find Cisco Email Security to be comprehensive, but it's not 100 percent. There is no silver-bullet solution when it comes to cybersecurity. You better keep on adding protection layers to your network. Don't think you're not going to be a target. As a small or medium business, you will be targeted. It's so easy to get through a firewall nowadays. One layer of cybersecurity is not going to do it. You need to add two, three, four layers. It's just like going to the airport. The first thing you see is the check-in desk. They check who you are, that you have valid credentials, where you're going and why. Then you go through the scanners. Then you go through another layer of security. Once you get through, you're also being watched to make sure that you don't become "malicious." There are a lot of layers. I would rate the solution at nine out of ten. What comes to mind when giving it that rating is ease of use. Just set it and go. A better UI would make it a ten.
You need redundancy. If you have a standalone setup there is a risk of failure. If that goes down you lose email communication. We have deployed this product for multiple customers in the Middle East, in the UAE, particularly in Dubai. We have many customers using this product, mostly medium-sized enterprises.
Overall, it is a very good product, and I'm very happy with it.
The Email Security Appliance, in my opinion, is a really good device. In terms of configuration of the software, it's just click, click, and you are done. If you have redundancy then you are in safe hands. It's a very good solution for email security. We could be changing the appliance. I have heard from someone that Cisco has released some appliances for email security. I believe we need to try this. We may change our existing device and move to a new Cisco technology. We would keep the software. We usually upgrade it based on the newest versions. Until now, I haven't seen any breach or any attack on the Email Security Appliance. Overall, I would rate this solution at nine out of ten. I could give it a ten if the hardware was better.
This product is the complete solution and the real deal. I am using the on-premise version.
Give it a chance. If you can do a proof of concept somehow to rate it against other competitors which are out there, look into it because it is a good product. I haven't upgraded to version 12 yet.