Stories by Logan G. Harbaugh

Want better Wi-Fi? Five things you need

Laptops used to be the only devices on the company's wireless network. But Wi-Fi has become a ubiquitous standard used by a host of devices -- including desktop PCs, laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, printers, storage devices, and projectors.

Virtual data centers on the way? Poll results

On Monday, we polled IT and business leaders about how they're using public and private clouds. The respondents to our pair of suveys who say they are well on the way to a completely virtual data center outnumber those who haven't started using the cloud at all.

Five reasons to set up unified communications

There are so many different ways to communicate with partners, customers and co-workers--by phone, email, instant messaging, fax, video conferencing, and social media. Managing each system separately is not only inefficient, but can cause conflicts since they all use the same underlying technology--the Internet.

Build archiving systems to meet compliance demands

The thicket of federal, state, and industry-specific regulations is enormously complex. Most organizations fail to comply with some rules, often due to policy conflicts. The best way for companies to navigate the maze and avoid penalties is to show a "best effort" -- a serious, honest attempt to ensure that records are properly and securely archived in accordance with the best possible understanding of regulations.

Microsoft Hyper-V R2 is hot on VMware's heels

Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 and System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 offer substantial performance and functionality enhancements over the previous editions, but support for non-Windows guests remains extremely limited.

10 power-saving myths debunked

Companies are finding themselves embroiled in a power crisis as they struggle to find ways to rein in soaring energy costs -- as well as do their part to address global climate change. However, how can you be certain that the power-saving strategies your company has adopted are, in fact, the best ones? After all, there are plenty of myths out there about saving energy that are patently false. In this report, we examine 10 such myths and bring the truth to light.

Mail security challenge

E-mail security continues to be a hot-button issue for IT administrators, who now find more moving parts in mail security solutions than they did just a couple of short years ago. Fighting viruses and spam were the original spurs for creating e-mail security appliances, and anti-spam is still the most important component of mail security. But the solutions have evolved to meet a host of additional requirements. These include securing connections between users, both internal and external; preventing loss of corporate data; stopping new types of threats such as phishing, spyware, and other types of malware; and blocking DoS and other network attacks as well as some application-layer attacks on mail servers.

Lab test: Mirapoint RazorGate

The Mirapoint RazorGate 160 (v3.8.4-GA) did reasonably well in anti-spam performance, placing fourth in filtering accuracy and seventh in false positives. That's well within useful performance, though admins should count on spending some time building whitelists if they have users who get a lot of bulk e-mail. Compliance and content filtering features were broad and easy to use, with scanning inside archives and the capability to hold encrypted e-mails for inspection if desired.

Lab test: Symantec Mail Security

For the third year in a row, Symantec Mail Security (v7.5) is the best overall performer in my tests. It didn't have the best score in false positives (it came in a close second), and it was fourth in catch rate, but considering both counts, along with feature set, pricing, and maturity, it comes in first. The Symantec product shows a level of sophistication and ease of use that only comes from being a class leader for a long time, and having all the sharp edges rounded off.

Lab test: Barracuda Spam Firewall

The Barracuda Spam Firewall blocked more spam before filtering than any other appliance, using IP address reputation. As a result, spam as a percentage of total messages received was the lowest in the test. However, Barracuda also had the lowest percentage of spam caught, 88 per cent, which is acceptable but not great. Lower accuracy sometimes helps reduce the number of false positives, but it didn't seem to help the Barracuda much: one critical false positive and 33 bulk false positives rank sixth and fifth, respectively, among the nine solutions tested. Nevertheless, in terms of overall filtering performance, the Barracuda is definitely usable, especially after bulk senders are whitelisted.

Lab test: Tumbleweed MailGate

The Tumbleweed MailGate 5650 (v3.1.2-4366-HF1) offers a broad set of features at a reasonable price, along with good anti-spam capabilities. Tumbleweed took third place in false positives and seventh in filtering, with a solid 95.5 per cent catch rate. In addition, its bulk classification was actually useful, with 97.48 per cent of mail classified as bulk being truly bulk mail.

Lab test: Sendio I.C.E. Box

Many products claim to filter out 99.9 per cent of spam, but the Sendio I.C.E. Box 3.0 is the first I've tested that actually did so. Sendio claims zero false positives as well, but that isn't accurate. Because Sendio's challenge/response mechanism requires a human from the sender before mail will be delivered, any bulk e-mail sent via an automated process (with no means to reply to the challenge) will be quarantined until released by the enduser. Products that truly avoid false positives, such as Cisco IronMail and Symantec, spare endusers the hassle.

Lab test: Cisco IronPort

I tested the Cisco IronPort C100 (v5.5.1) without the optional Symantec "Brightmail" engine, and it excelled nevertheless. Although the filtering rate was second lowest in the group at 93 per cent, which is still quite acceptable, the false positive performance was best in the test. The C100 registered only two bulk false positives and no critical false positives, a feat much more impressive than a high filtering rate.

Lab test: Messaging Security Gateway

The Proofpoint Messaging Security Gateway P840 (v5.0) had excellent overall anti-spam performance, third in filtering and fifth in false positives, with a fair number of bulk false positives, but more than 97 per cent of spam caught. And the feature set is extensive, including application-layer firewall features for the back-end mail server, policy-based encryption, and capable outbound content protection.