Mirapoint Message Server M50 review

£5969
Price when reviewed

Mirapoint’s latest M50 appliance takes messaging security to the next level. It claims to be the industry’s first device to amalgamate anti-virus and anti-spam measures with collaborative computing, and serves it up at a price the SMB can afford. The M50 sets itself apart from most message security appliances, as it isn’t designed to work with your mail server but to replace it.

Mirapoint Message Server M50 review

Mirapoint advised us that during the implementation phase it will assist a customer in migrating from their existing mail system. The Message Server will work alongside mail servers such as Microsoft Exchange, but that isn’t its primary purpose. The M50 can be accessed via all popular mail clients including Outlook, but uses its own web mail facilities that offer features such as calendaring, shared address books and group scheduling. Installation starts by connecting a monitor and keyboard to the appliance and using a simple menu to set up basic network, DNS and routing parameters, after which you can swap over to remote browser access.

Virus scanning comes courtesy of Sophos or F-Secure, and the appliance can be configured to run both engines if required. All incoming emails are scanned, with infected messages being cleaned, deleted or ignored, and a copy placed in a quarantine area on the appliance. Anti-spam measures include the usual reverse DNS lookups and external RBLs. But Mirapoint doesn’t use Bayesian analysis. Instead, you get its MailHurdle feature, which checks each message to see whether it came from an internet standards-compliant mail server. If the message isn’t from a verifiable source it will be blocked, so the language and content in this case are irrelevant. In many ways MailHurdle’s modus operandi is similar to that of Tumbleweed’s MailGate Edge, which takes advantage of SMTP error codes.

Content filtering uses lists of words and phrases applied to each message to determine how they should be handled. Email with objectionable content can be forwarded to another address, sent to the quarantine area or simply rejected or discarded. You have the option to inform the intended recipient that a message to them has been blocked.

The corporate web-mail interface provides users with access to their email along with calendars, contacts and scheduling tools. It’s well designed, intuitive and provides access to all four functions from a single browser interface.

All the standard mail-related functions are provided, while the calendar enables you to create events, add a time period and repeat intervals, as well as include other users who’ll automatically receive a notification email and be required to confirm acceptance.

In general, it’s more basic than Outlook but offers all the key functions, including a contact list and task scheduler. Access security is also important, as connections – including those from third-party clients – can be encrypted over HTTPS.

The M50 is an interesting alternative to the standard message security solutions and provides a sophisticated range of capabilities. If you feel it’s time to ditch your mail server software and appliance combo and replace it with an all-in-one package, the M50 should be at the top of your list.

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