Review: Clearswift MIMEsweeper

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Review: Clearswift MIMEsweeper

MIMESweeper has been around for a long time. Available in four configurations to support up to a maximum of 3,000 users, the appliance has a moderate level of features. This makes it suitable for small and medium-sized organisations only.

We found the documentation for this product to be extremely weak. MIMESweeper is provided with a very brief quick-start guide, which contains the start-up instructions for the device. Other material is available online, but in order to access it one needs to register on the Clearswift website.

The setup procedure for the product is reasonably straightforward and is guided by the setup wizard. But once this was done, complete custom policies were difficult to configure. The web-based user interface is disorganised and awkward to use. A positive aspect is the availability of several predefined policies. For many smaller organisations, these policies may be all that is required.

MIMESweeper deploys as a proxy and can integrate with a firewall. However, when integrated with the firewall, one or more ports in the firewall must be opened.

The device observes all web traffic, internal and external, at the gateway. Profile, software and operating system updates are automatic. The product offers URL blocking and content filtering, as well as spyware and antivirus protection. Compared to similar products of this class, this is quite a limited set of features.

Support is available on a contract-basis only. Clients can choose from several options, including standard support and plus support. The main difference between the two packages is availability. Standard support is available during working hours only, while the plus-version is available 24/7 all year round.

Even the support website is largely reserved for support plan subscribers. This is made clear on the support home page: "The majority of the Clearswift support website is for current support customers only. The configuration for up to 250 users is priced at the high end of the spectrum for this type of product, even without taking into consideration the extra cost of a support plan.

In consideration of MIMESweeper's limited feature set and documentation, the overall cost of ownership of the product is quite high.

For: Several predefined policies available out-of-the-box
Against: Limited features, high cost of ownership, security risk of opening ports in the firewall
Verdict: A potential option for SMEs. It's long pedigree ensures reliability, but that comes with a steep price tag.


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