McAfee last month announced version 5.5 of the McAfee Email and Web Security Appliance (EWS), which allows companies to protect themselves against e-mail and Web-borne threats. In addition, EWS also allows administrators to manage Web traffic with comprehensive reporting as well as the ability to enforce policies.
The company says EWS was designed to meet the needs of small and medium businesses. Mark Campbell, senior product marketing manager at McAfee, displayed an acute understanding of the situation in most SMBs when he said:
We've crammed a bunch of really great enterprise features into an appliance that is easy to use. It is targeted at IT professionals with four other jobs.
Despite the .5 increment in this version, significant upgrades have been added to the product over the previous one. The most obvious upgrade here would be the inclusion of McAfee's Artemis technology, as well as features from TrustedSource that McAfee acquired last year. This move puts the high-level threat intelligence found in both products squarely within the grasp of SMBs. Previously, these technologies were found only in products targeted and sold to large enterprises.
Artemis essentially looks for new malware for which no signature is available, while TrustedSource uses the concept of reputation to eliminate spam and filter dodgy Web traffic. Sensors located at various parts of the Internet help to facilitate this task.
To ease the barrier of entry to the harried administrator, McAfee promises that installation will be a 10-minute process. This is achieved with auto-detection of network settings and a configuration wizard to tweak the EWS. This sounds wonderful, though I would still take Campbell's assertion that "It's designed for anyone to be able to set it up" with a pinch of salt.
To give SMBs ample time to test the full-fledged product, McAfee will be offering a 30-day "Buyer's Assurance Program" for the Email and Web Security Appliance. This is essentially a 30 day money-back program that is valid in the United States, Canada and Latin America.
For organizations not keen on finding the space for another hardware appliance, EWS is also available as a virtual appliance, according to information on the McAfee EWS product page.