Barracuda Networks Spam & Virus Firewall 300 review
An appliance that’s good value, well featured, easy to deploy and munches spam at an impressive rate
Review Date: 30 Nov 2011
Reviewed By: Dave Mitchell
Price when reviewed: £1,799 (£2,159 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
These days, SMBs have a huge choice of anti-spam solutions from which to choose. Barracuda’s Spam & Virus Firewall appliances stand out for their arsenal of messaging security measures, claimed detection accuracy and ease of deployment. Here we review the 300 model, designed to handle between 300 and 1,000 users – and licensing isn’t based on the user count.
The 300 is a 1U low-profile rack appliance that was very quiet during testing. For initial deployment you can connect a local monitor and keyboard, and run through a quick setup routine to provide an IP address, gateway and DNS settings.
Then it’s over to the web interface, where you provide the address of the mail server to which you want the appliance to route mail, and also to set up allowed recipient domains. You’ll need to route incoming mail to the appliance; this can be done with a firewall port-forwarding rule or by changing your DNS MX record.
We found the web interface simple to use, opening with a status screen showing bar charts of hourly and daily inbound and outbound mail statistics. These are colour-coded, making it easy to see what mail is being allowed, tagged, quarantined or blocked.
For inbound messages, Barracuda uses a simple spam-scoring system that can be adjusted as you go. However, behind this lies a 12-step spam-detection process that includes Bayesian algorithms, real-time blackhole lists, reverse DNS lookups, IP reputation analysis, content filtering, keyword blocking and intent analysis.
For content filtering, you can apply custom lists of banned keywords and sets of predefined patterns for credit card and social security numbers, although the latter are specific to the US. Barracuda also offers a free agent for Microsoft Exchange, extending antivirus scanning to internal mail.
The appliance maintains a message log, showing a complete list of all emails and how they were handled. From here, blocked messages can be delivered or added to a white-list, and the log exported to a CSV file. Other reporting features include top spam receivers or senders, viruses, blocked attachments and more. Reports can be run on demand, or scheduled and sent to a list of email addresses.
For performance testing, we set up the appliance to scan incoming live mail. Rather than use bogus samples of harvested spam, this allowed us to see how the device handled real-time threats.
We left the appliance scanning live mail on its default settings for more than a week and were impressed with the results. In total, it handled almost 1,300 messages, of which 631 were spam or mail with infected payloads. The appliance missed only five spam messages, giving it a detection rate of 99.2%. We asked for messages that were classed as possible spam and allowed through to be tagged; the appliance incorrectly marked only 17 messages, which shows a low false-positive rate as well.
Even after you’ve factored in the additional costs of the Energize Updates subscription, Barracuda’s Spam & Virus Firewall 300 is still pretty good value. It’s easy to deploy and delivers a superb spam detection rate straight out of the box.
Author: Dave Mitchell
- Chromebooks get version of Photoshop
- Toshiba beats retreat from consumer PC market
- Ellison steps down: but who's really running Oracle now?
- Microsoft set to make more job cuts
- Is Peter Pan panto tickets email genuine? Oh no, it isn't
- Intel triples Xeon E5 chip performance, adds DDR4
- Patch Tuesday targets critical IE flaw
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Microsoft yanks Windows 8.1 update after crash reports
- Microsoft backtracks on blocking out-of-date Java
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- Five worst SMB security threats... and how to solve them
- Doing business in a social era
- How to configure SysLookup for your network
- The 18 best Outlook tips for increasing productivity: become an Outlook expert with these lesser-known tips
- Office: should you buy it, rent it - or dump it?
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows XP: Microsoft’s ticking time bomb
- gTLDs: what your business should know about new domain names
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office