The only access you have to the firewall is for entering multiple port forwarding rules. From the content filtering section you create lists of IP addresses to be blocked from or allowed web access. Banned file extension lists can be created whilst access to specific web sites and full domains can be completely blocked. A weighting score is used to determine undesirable web page content and you can enter a number that suits the types (and ages) of users on the LAN.
For email scanning SpamAssassin automatically checks all incoming POP3 traffic. It scores the message content and if this is over a preset threshold it appends the subject line with an extra comment. This means that you’ll need an internal system for dealing with tagged emails. For testing we created a new Outlook folder and set up a rule that moved all tagged email into it for further investigation. We ran the appliance in a live environment but weren’t overly impressed with SpamAssassin as over sixty per cent of spam was allowed through. We reported this to the providers who downloaded a modified rule list to the appliance. With this in place the success rate was improved dramatically but now it was tagging genuine emails which meant we had to regularly check all messages in our Outlook spam folder. Clearly, this component will take a while to customise before it actually reduces your workload. Infected emails are merely deleted by whichever scanning engine spots them and the appliance sends an advisory email to the recipient address in the message. All signature updates are handled remotely so there’s nothing else to do here for configuration.
Monitoring features from the web interface extend only to providing a graphical rundown of the web cache performance. A secure web portal hosted by Bridge Broadband provides much deeper information with bar graphs showing all web activity for each IP address along with web sites visited and file types downloaded. You can also create email white lists for individual addresses and domains. Another service included in the subscription fee is traffic shaping as you advise the company which traffic you want prioritised and it’ll configure the box according to your requirements. We were also advised that the company monitors client web activity and informs them when any unusual or dubious activity is spotted.
The GuardianBox GB 25 provides a wide range of managed security services that are easily deployed and priced just right for small businesses although we found the anti-spam component will require plenty of tweaking.