Review: Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security

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Review:  Trend Micro InterScan Messaging Security

On paper, InterScan Messaging Security from Trend Micro is a wonderful product. Combining on-premise software with an optional cloud-based pre-filter, the tool provides a flexible approach to email security. If we would have been able to get it working, we would probably be impressed.

The software shipped to us was a VMware open virtualisation format template, but after deployment we still had to run through the OS installation. A strange extra step, but it did function, and in short order we were able to log into the web administration tool. We were then presented with a configuration wizard, which attempted to guide us through mail server, notification, update sources and lightweight directory access protocol settings.

Worth noting is that the documentation is misleading in places. We were not able to properly configure in- and outbound simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP) relaying without a call to support. Also, activating the encryption features was complicated. The administrator is expected to fill out a form in the web administration tool that triggers a series of back-and-forth emails, ultimately resulting in the return of a key file that is uploaded to the product. Any interruptions in that process can cause lengthy delays.

In our case, Trend Micro had blocked the IP address of the SC Labs' mail server, preventing us from replying to the confirmation email. Despite working with product support, we were not able to get the encryption working.

Content filtering was actually very simple. Users of Microsoft Outlook will find the policy creation process especially easy, as it is reminiscent of that product's rule creation process. Messages that trigger policies can be rerouted, modified and apparently encrypted (though we were not able to actually test that feature).

The PDF documentation is well constructed with bookmarks, hotlinks and screenshots. We had issues with the content, however. While each feature is highlighted, in many cases it is given only sparse coverage. We were not even able to get SMTP to function properly, and the configuration to which the support engineer guided us ran counter to the PDF.

Support is provided on an eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week basis. Additional options are available, including 24/7 support and access to advanced engineers, priority support, remote installation and threat alerts.

Trend Micro charges c£9.45 per user for the InterScan Messaging Security appliance, based on a 5,000-user licence pack. This includes one year of eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week maintenance, but data leak prevention and encryption are an extra c£6.30 per user. Maintenance charges for subsequent years are c£3.80 per user for the base product, with an extra c£2.50 for email encryption and DLP features.

Looks great on paper, but in our opinion is not worth the hassle due to the problems with getting it working.

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