The policies and procedures necessary to effectively manage e-mail are often a headache for administrators. The criteria for deciding appropriate messages from inappropriate e-mail vary widely between companies, and keeping up with the numerous rules and policies can take up much of an administrator's valuable time.
Red Earth Software, a developer of e-mail security software, recently released Policy Patrol 3.0, a suite of e-mail management and filtering products designed to protect companies against legal threats that may arise from inappropriate content as well as security threats such as viruses, worms and trojans. The tool is widely applicable, as it is compatible with both Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Domino servers.
The Policy Patrol suite is based on rules. The software extracts user names from Active Directory (AD) and uses a rules engine to bind users to the company's e-mail policies.
There are four separate products that make up the Policy Patrol software suite. Policy Patrol Zip, Disclaimers, Content Filtering and Spam Blocking. These products can be purchased separately, but the Enterprise version of the software contains all four.
Policy Patrol Zip is a compression utility that works on the server side to compress all e-mail attachments. This feature can significantly cut down on bandwidth usage.
The Disclaimers product can add disclaimers to incoming and outgoing e-mail, and can also set policies for e-mail traffic based on a sender's or recipient's location. For example, different rules may apply for internal communications than apply for e-mail sent to external contacts. Companies can apply different rules and disclaimers to corporate e-mail on a department, group or individual user level.
Content Filtering uses adaptive learning technologies to filter offensive or inappropriate content from incoming and outgoing e-mail traffic. Since the software is rule-based, administrators can set up policies to block mail based on sender's name, recipient's name or any combination of factors. Blocking attachments that exceed a certain size or that come from specific domains is also possible. Content filtering also allows companies to identify mass mailings.
Policy Patrol 3.0 includes a new service called Recipient Verification. This service monitors incoming e-mail before it reaches an e-mail server. The software checks the recipient's name against a predefined list of approved senders, the AD list, and if the name appears, it passes the e-mail through the server. If the name does not appear on the AD list, the software deletes the messages. Since an e-mail server never encountered the message, no non-delivery report (NDR) is sent.
The Spam Blocking tool uses the same technologies to identify Spam based on content and to stop mass mailings. Policy Patrol 3.0's Spam Blocker also scans e-mail before it reaches an e-mail server and checks incoming addresses against realtime blacklists. The software also checks IP addresses and domain names in the same way to determine if the e-mail should be passed on to the mail server. A new feature allows the product to use Spam URL Realtime Block Lists (SURBL). Administrators can look at the links included in Spam messages and identify those that link to a known spammer's Web site.
Spam blocker uses Bayesian filtering, but must receive approximately 3,000 legitimate messages before it can start working effectively. This can be done by importing legitimate messages from another e-mail account, or by letting Policy Patrol automatically add outgoing messages to the legitimate e-mail database. The software compares a known message of good content with a known message of bad content and the software intelligently decides if the incoming mail is spam or not. Essentially, the software is trained to differentiate between legitimate and harmful e-mail, and builds its own dictionary of words to use when making a determination.
The software works at the server level and requires no client software installation. The suite is compatible with Microsoft's IIS and Exchange Server and Lotus Domino servers. Setting up the suite on Exchange Server is a complicated process, and offers solution providers an opportunity to provide setup and installation services to customers.
Red Earth Software's channel program offers a 25 percent margin, but little else. Priority technical support for partners, the opportunity to participate in software beta programs, and free, in-house versions of their software for demonstration purposes are the only other benefits. A maintenance contract is included in the product purchase, and makes up 20 percent of the cost. Discounts are available for non-profit and government organizations. Policy Patrol Spam Filter with 1,000 user licenses is $5,295, and for 10,000 users the price is $8,995. Policy Patrol Enterprise with 1,000 user licenses is $7,495, and for 10,000 users costs $12,995. A 30-day evaluation version is available from www.policypatrol.com.
CHANNEL PROGRAM SNAPSHOTS
> POLICY PATROL ENTERPRISE
COMPANY: Red Earth Software
DISTRIBUTORS: Direct from vendor
Note: Vendors can earn up to five stars for technical merit and five for their channel program. If the average of these two scores is four stars or greater, the product earns CRN Test Center Recommended status.