Review: BlackSpider MailControl

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MailControl is a managed service offered by BlackSpider and it was quick and easy to set up.

MailControl is a managed service offered by BlackSpider and it was quick and easy to set up. BlackSpider created a user account and gave us the IP of three mail server clusters to use as MX records. Administration is online.

The interface is engaging, with the first screen offering a dashboard view of the service's ongoing activities. Graphs show volumes of mail, spam and viruses received, for the customer and for the service across all its customers.

The interface is good through all parts of the service but is sometimes slow to refresh pages which are drawing on a lot of data. Some cosmetic improvements could be made. The quarantine, for example, shows "1-10" but omits "...of 1000."

User groups can be filtered according to specific needs and usernames can be entered the hard way or uploaded as a CSV file. We can imagine this becoming difficult to manage for a large organization with a dynamic user base. Keeping track of group aliases is easier, and MailControl provides a convenient interface to manage aliases.

Multiple domains can be controlled from the customer's environment, with separate policies for each. Multiple admin accounts can be created and the system keeps an audit trail of what modifications are made, when and by whom. Spam rules are limited. The threshold and basic actions can be set, but direct control over the scoring mechanisms is not available.

It took a long time to establish connections to BlackSpider's servers. Once connected though, mail transferred slowly but within acceptable limits and consistently.

The filter was accurate, catching more spam than other services and with a minimum of false positives. Users receive an email update on a periodic basis with a breakdown of messages and their scores, with links to view each message online and update white/blacklists.

This goes a long way to delivering what we want from a MSP. Performance could have been better, but the filter was very good. All-around, a solid performer.


Very good management front-end with great reporting.


Mail throughput was unimpressive.


Strong managed service striking a good balance with user-friendliness.


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