SonicWall Email Security 9.0 review

SonicWall’s Email Security 9 software mixes tough security measures with extreme versatility

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The software is ready go out of the box as it activates a full set of default email security policies. Anti-spam uses predefined aggressiveness settings to class dubious messages as spam or likely spam and send them to the recipient's junk box.

You can easily tweak the settings to suit and choose to have different ones for each message classification. They can be globally rejected, deleted, forwarded to another email address or tagged, and custom settings can be applied to specific AD users and groups.

The Compliance module allows custom message filters to be applied to mail in both directions and comes with a set of dictionaries and ID definitions containing details such as common financial terms and credit card number formats. Any messages that trigger compliance filters can be sent to an internal approval box for authorisation and you can apply automatic encryption or decryption.

We weren't overly impressed with SonicWall's support responses during testing as our licenses expired leaving the appliance in reporting mode. We went through the proper channels to get them renewed but had to wait four days until the support team returned from an extended public holiday.

Performance and Capture ATP

We test email security products in a live environment, as it forces them to deal with emerging and zero-day threats rather than just a stale pile of harvested mail. We left our Email Security host running for three weeks on its default settings and found it be remarkably effective, delivering a 99.2% spam detection rate.

The default anti-spam aggressiveness settings produced surprisingly few false positives but should these be over-enthusiastic, you can change them to suit. Our users were each sent a daily junk summary email so they could remotely view their junk box and, if permitted, release messages and personalise their anti-spam aggressiveness settings.

The Capture ATP feature also performed well, picking up a range of attachment file types, sending them to the cloud sandbox and then releasing them when deemed safe. We tested this by emailing ZIP attachments with malware inside to selected users and ATP deleted them and blocked the emails.

As the administrator, we were sent an email alert each time ATP detected a malicious file which provided a direct link to a status report. It's only when you view the report's summary that you realise just how many cloud scanners the files are checked by.


Even after factoring in the cost of the host hardware and Windows OS, SonicWall's Email Security software still looks comparatively good value. It's highly scalable and very easy to manage, spam detection rates are extremely good and the new Capture ATP feature adds valuable cloud-based protection against the latest mail-borne threats.


You’ll need to factor in a host system but good value, easy deployment and a great spam detection score makes SonicWall’s Email Security software a sound choice for SMBs and enterprises alike


Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.