GFI MailEssentials License
About GFI MailEssentials
GFI MailEssentials License is a cloud-based anti-spam solution that helps small to large enterprises manage spam emails and prevent potential malware threats. It comes with an admin console, which enables users to synchronize critical data such as attachments or keywords and maintain logs of mail flow in a centralized database.
GFI MailEssentials lets businesses configure security settings to block incoming mails containing specific keywords, social security numbers or file extensions. It provides users with an administrative dashboard to view recent updates, logs or email statistics and generate reports on email interactions across the organization. Additionally, managers can utilize the exploit engine to detect malicious email-based Trojan executables and quarantine suspicious files.
GFI MailEssentials License facilitates integration with third-party anti-virus engines such as Bitdefender, Avira, Sophos, Kaspersky and Cyren to detect new system threats. Pricing is available on request and support is extended via phone, email and other online measures.
GFI Software is an American developer of IT software founded in 1992. It offers a wide range of IT solutions, including network performance, patch management, auditing, security scanning, and more. One of these solutions is GFI MailEssentials, which provides anti-spam and email security for on-premises mail servers.
Having reviewed its GFI Archiver in the past and been pleasantly surprised by it, I was eager to have a look at MailEssentials. And here we are! In this product review, I take an in-depth look at GFI MailEssentials v21.5 (build 20190321). However, being such a powerful and complete product means that I can only cover its main features briefly in this review.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that MailEssentials can be installed in a VMware or Hyper-V virtual environment, which is exactly what I did for this review.
In terms of hardware, the requirements depend on a range of factors, such as email volume and the number of antivirus engines enabled, but as a minimum:
- Processor: 2GHz with multiple cores.
- Memory (RAM): 2GB dedicated to MailEssentials.
- Disk space: 10GB dedicated to MailEssentials.
As to software, MailEssentials supports:
- Any version of Microsoft Windows Server (64-bit) from 2008 R2 onwards.
- Microsoft IIS SMTP service or Microsoft Exchange Server 2010/2013/2016/2019.
- Microsoft Messaging Queuing Service (MSMQ).
- Microsoft .NET Framework 4/4.5.
- ASP.NET & Windows Authentication role services when installing on Windows Server 2008 R2 onwards.
- Microsoft SQL Server/Express is suggested for the reporting engine database for installs with more than 100 mailboxes.
GFI MailEssentials can be deployed in a variety of ways. Ideally, it should be installed and configured in a way that makes it the email gateway for the organization, both for inbound and outbound emails. However, it can be installed on its own servers or it can be installed directly in the same servers as Exchange. In Exchange 2010 environments, MailEssentials can be installed on the servers with the Edge Server Role, Hub Transport Role or Hub Transport and Mailbox Roles. With Exchange 2013 and above, it can be installed on the Edge Transport role or Mailbox role servers.
Installing MailEssentials on a mail gateway/relay server is commonly used for larger organizations or those that wish to keep MailEssentials and Exchange (or any other mail server being used) separate for any reason, like patching, high availability, and so on. In this scenario, MailEssentials is usually hosted in the DMZ and relays inbound emails to the mail server. This way, spam, and viruses are filtered before these emails are received on the mail server, thus reducing unnecessary email traffic. It also provides additional fault tolerance, where if the mail server is down, we can still receive email since these are queued on the MailEssentials server.
For this review, I deployed two GFI MailEssentials servers in my DMZ and configured them to relay emails to the internal Exchange 2016 environment. Outbound emails were also being relayed through MailEssentials.
When installing GFI MailEssentials on the same server as Exchange, no preinstall actions or configurations are required. When installed on its own, MailEssentials uses the IIS SMTP service as its SMTP server and, therefore, the IIS SMTP service is configured to act as a mail relay server. The admin guide provides clear instructions on how to do this, so administrators will not have a problem whatsoever. In a high level, these are the steps involved:
- Enable IIS SMTP service.
- Create SMTP domains for email relaying.
- Enable email relaying to the internal mail servers.
- Secure the SMTP email-relay server.
- Enable mail server to route emails via MailEssential.
- Update MX records to point to MailEssentials.
- Test new mail relay server.
The installation itself is as straightforward as possible using the intuitive installation wizard:
Advanced malware protection
GFI MailEssentials delivers advanced malware protection with scanning engines that connect to a cloud service whenever they find unknown, executable attachments. These attachments are thoroughly scanned to determine if the attachment is malicious or not.
An arsenal of anti-spam filters
GFI MailEssentials(GFI MailEssentials License) features a variety of anti-spam technologies. SPF blocks spoofed emails. Greylisting blocks emails sent with nonRFC compliant techniques used by spammers. Directory harvest protection blocks emails sent using random and exhaustive email address-generation techniques. DNS blacklists utilize a wealth of information gathered from distributed community data collection techniques to fend o! botnet spamming.
Web console with integrated reporting
You can handle all your anti-spam and email security functionality including spam and malware quarantine, as well as reporting from a single web-based console. The console includes the dashboard that gives you a graphic view in real time of the software status as well as the email flow on the server.
GFI MailEssentials gives you the flexibility to choose what to do with spam and malware emails. Users can mark emails as spam. You can quarantine suspected spam and notify users. You can establish central quarantine locations for malware.
Email content enforcement & data leakage prevention
The keyword-checking functionality in GFI MailEssentials can be used to scan inbound and outbound emails for keywords, and the attachment-checking
functionality scans emails for attachments.
You can choose to block all incoming emails with potentially malicious attachment types, or block bandwidth and productivity wasters such as mp3 and Mpeg files. Advanced user-based email filtering rules enable you to block emails based on patterns that you define, such as regular expressions. This is far more powerful than simple keyword checking.
Protect your company against email exploits and Trojans
The GFI MailEssentials Trojan and executable scanner detects unknown, malicious executables by analyzing what they do. The scanner uses built-in intelligence to rate the risk level by disassembling the executable, detecting what it might do and comparing its actions to a database of malicious actions. The scanner then quarantines any executables that perform suspicious actions, for example, making network connections or accessing the address book.
The reason why I am starting with the multi-server feature is because it is both an important one as well as a new one. It enables communication between different GFI MailEssentials servers so that configuration data can be shared across the servers. This is great for organizations with multiple email gateways and email servers, where managing individual servers can be a tedious task without a unified console, not to mention prone to errors and misconfiguration. Once multi-server is configured, this problem is resolved and day-to-day configuration tasks can be done using a single console.
Configuring the multi-server feature is straightforward. We promote one of the servers as the master server while all the other servers are configured to connect to it as slaves.