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Defence contractor adopts messaging gateway

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The Australian arm of UK-based defence and aerospace company BAE Systems has deployed an IronPort C-Series Messaging Gateway appliance at the edge of its network to screen incoming content before it enters the internal environment and protect its critical email infrastructure.

The company's mixed computing environment in Adelaide is used by some 2,500 employees and includes Sun Solaris, UNIX, and Windows, with MS Exchange 2003 for internal routing.

Those 2,500 employees collectively receive more than 20,000 emails during an average working day and BAE Systems decided it needed an effective anti-spam solution that would be easy to implement and require little, if any, day-to-day management attention.

BAE Systems solution architect Andrew Saywell said he went looking for an appliance type of solution - something that could simply slide into a rack. Spam had become a particularly tedious issue because much of his company's growth in recent times had been through multiple acquisitions.

"Every acquisition brings its own domain name or names with the result that virtually everyone in our organisation has up to five or six different email addresses. So we have many more conduits into the company than you would find in other organisations of comparable size."

Before deciding on an appliance approach, BAE systems looked at a purely software-based solution but found it required what Saywell considered to be "far too much administrator intervention to keep it operating at an effective level".

"While no solution is ever completely admin-free, the IronPort system appeared to provide a capable solution with a minimal admin. overhead.

"When I first spoke to IronPort I was only looking for something to overcome the problem of spam but when I learned their system also included Sophos Anti-Virus I saw that as real added value. We already had a number of other anti-virus tools installed but you can never have too much protection.

"We were also looking for content filtering and what IronPort's C30 Messaging Gateway offered meant I didn't also have to go looking for yet another solution for that need."

Other value-adds enjoyed by IronPort users include the SenderBase reputation filter - more than 25 per cent of all the world's email traffic runs through IronPort - and the system's inclusion of the world's fastest scanning engine.

Saywell recommended installing IronPort after first having ascertained that it came at a cost that he wasn't going to have any problem getting approval for, and following a three-week in-house trial.

The trial was conducted in one part of the company and users whose emails were sent through the IronPort gateway also continued to have their emails take the existing route. The exercise proved IronPort to be far more effective than the existing system - which required manual configuration and updating - in recognising spam.

Spam emails were not deleted by the system but marked for recipients to delete, as a precaution against losing something important that only appeared to be spam.

BAE Systems will next install IronPort Virus Outbreak Filters for integration into its IronPort email security appliance. A high-performance preventative measure, these filters protect networks from infection during the critical early stage of a new virus outbreak.

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