J003-Content-All-Good-Things-Must-Come-To-An-End-So-Too-McAfee-Email-Security_SQAs the song says, “another one bites the dust” as Intel/McAfee has announced the end of life for what is essentially all their email security solutions. These include McAfee Email Gateway, Email Protection, Quarantine Manager, SaaS Email Archiving, SaaS Email Encryption, SaaS Email Protection, Email Protection and Continuity, and Endpoint and Email Protection. Reading the announcement, one could almost say that they are not so sassy anymore, but that would be an unforgivably bad pun, so we won’t go there. According to the announcement, Proofpoint is the recommended replacement for any of these products or services, but if you’re going to have to make a change, you should take a look at what is still out there and consider your options.

History

Back in 2010, Intel Corporation purchased McAfee for a whopping US $7.7 billion dollars, or what at the time was $48 a share. The deal closed in February of 2011, and in 2014, McAfee was rebranded as Intel Security, in case you (like me) never noticed and have been calling them McAfee for all these years. Whatever, today Intel is trading around the US $29 a share. But several months ago, Intel decided that the messaging hygiene business was not profitable, and announced end of life for all the products listed above. Most of them will go EOL either later this year, or in the next few years up to 2021. If you are using any McAfee product to protect your email, check out the End of Support/End of Life dates to see how long you have. And then, consider your options.

Considering how mission critical email is, and how popular an attack vector it remains for malware, phishing, and data leakage, the one thing that is clear is you cannot afford to have email without some kind of filtering and hygiene system. So what do you do? One thing you can be sure of is that moving from one solution to another will not be seamless and transparent to your users. No two hygiene systems work in exactly the same way, and even if you export all your years’ worth of tuning and tweaking from your McAfee solution and reproduce them all in your new solution, there are going to be some bumps in the road. Different systems use different algorithms and heuristics to identify spam, different scanning engines to identify malware, and do different things with them. Prepare both your management and your users for the change early, and repeat it often, that while change may be challenging at first, it’s a necessary part of life, and also of changing systems. Don’t let any marketing slick make you think otherwise.

Replace like for like, or use this as an opportunity to do more

There are plenty of other players on the market who handle messaging hygiene. These include both on-premises and managed offerings, and those include hosted and cloud flavors. Look at what you had with McAfee, and ensure that you make at least a lateral move to a similar set of services. Consider whether now is a great time to add additional services, like archiving or business continuity, to your messaging system. You have to change…this could be a blessing in disguise if you have been holding off on adding new services because you didn’t want to make a change.

SaaS offerings

Offsite offerings can be attractive if you don’t have personnel to manage your message hygiene systems, or you want to filter out spam and phishing without wasting your Internet bandwidth. These are good for SMBs and Enterprises alike, when you are willing to give up a little direct control in exchange for not needing to perform the 24×7 care and feeding that hygiene systems require. You can find service providers that offer cloud based solutions, as well as those that host filtering in one or more datacenters to provide fault tolerance and redundancy. You may not get as much customization or direct touch capabilities, but you may save some money and get economies of scale that you can’t equal on your own.

On-premises solutions

On-prem solutions give you total control. You can reach out and touch the systems, customize them to the full degree that they offer, and have ready access to the logs. Of course, you are also responsible for their care and feeding 24×7, and someone on staff needs to become the resident expert. But if you have the bandwidth to handle it, the desire to be completely in control, and the willingness to learn, deploying on-prem solutions gives you all of that and more.

Minimums versus bonus features

At a minimum, you want to filter out as much spam as possible, using heuristics, protocol analysis, reputation analysis, and key word evaluations. You will also need to be able to configure block and permit lists to support your business needs. And for suspected spam, you either need to route it to users’ Junk Email folders, or set up a central quarantine and task someone with its oversight. Sure, users can probably use a web browser and self-service up to a point, but you will have to play babysitter to some. For malware, more is better, at least when it comes to scanning engines. Make sure your solution has multiple engines scanning for malware, and keep in mind that if you go with an on-prem solution, you need to license all those scanners. Phishing attacks are the hardest to detect and deter, and can also be the most damaging, so make sure that whatever solution you choose, it’s got a great track history for detecting and blocking phishing attacks.

Consider adding, if you didn’t already have, additional features like email archiving, compliance, business continuity, and encryption capabilities. Email systems fail, and having a BCP/DR capability in place helps bring the most vital component of corporate communications up quickly.

Data loss prevention is another nice to have, since far too often sensitive data is sent out by email. Enforcing content policy is also a good way to ensure that proper grammar is used in emails, signatures and disclaimers are in place, and no one emails out NPI or PHI by mistake.

And since email is a vital way to exchange data between your company and customers, vendors, and partners, adding an encryption component helps to get business done securely.

Conclusion

If you are a current McAfee customer, you need to move now on getting your replacement solution chosen and in place. If you’re not, but you are looking at making a change or simply adding on to what you already have, you really don’t want to wait either. Email is the mission critical, line of business application and communication channel for most companies, and the above should help you get this done.

This is your chance to try out GFI MailEssentials which is an on-premise solution that offers up to 5 antivirus engines and a spam catch rate of 99.9%, with no false positives, as awarded by Virus Bulletin. Get your free, fully functional 30-day trial today.