29 Sep Six Spam Fighters Face Off in Madison
Six Spam Fighters Face Off in Madison
MADISON, WI- The University of Wisconsin System Administration and WiscNet were once again selected by eWeek, a weekly magazine for information technology executives, to serve as a real-world test and evaluation partner for enterprise computing solutions.
The testing took place in early September at a two-day Anti-Spam evaluation at the University of Wisconsin-Extension Pyle Center. The testing criteria and format, called “eWEEK Labs eValuation”, were arranged by eWEEK Labs. The publication works with leading organizations around the country to test how various enterprise-level technology products and services perform against real-world requirements. The Anti-Spam eVal analysis includes reviews of six products and recommends how to pick the best solution based on how they performed in eVal tests. The results can be found in the September 29th issue of eWEEK, www.eweek.com or here.
eWEEK’s testing of enterprise IT solutions in Wisconsin is not the first time that the UW System has been selected. Other eWeek eValuations that have occurred in Wisconsin include tests of collaboration tools, H.323 systems, Web-based authoring tools (1997 and again in 2001), and transcoding. UW-System and other Wisconsin-based evaluations are part of testing program that has also included Virtual Private Networks (VPN’s) with DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), content management with USA Today publisher Gannett Company, mobile management with SBC Communications and wireless LANs with Cornell University.
Technical, marketing and sales representatives from ActiveState, BrightMail, CipherTrust, FirstBridge, McAfee and Postini presented their products to the judging team made up of representatives of WiscNet administrators, directors, and IT professionals from Wisconsin’s public schools and colleges.
For the Anti-Spam eVal, which was led by eWEEK Labs’ Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant,eWEEK Labs worked with WiscNet to develop a comprehensive request-for-proposal document (available at ftp://ftp.eweek.com/pub/eweek/antispamrfp.pdf). After reviewing RFP responses from more than 30 anti-spam vendors, eWEEK Labs and service provider WiscNet picked the six anti-spam solutions that best fit the needs of WiscNet and its education, library and government customers. The vendors of these six products–two each from the hardware, software and services categories– presented their solutions to the IT staff of WiscNet and its customer organizations. These eVal judges, along with eWEEK Labs staff, pressed the vendors on how their products would conform, perform and scale to their specific needs.
“The judges grilled the vendors using their varied requirements: Can the product quarantine for some users but not for all? Wait, I don’t want to quarantine at all-can you just take the spam away? How granularly can I administer the product?” wrote eWEEK’s Executive Editor Debra Donston in the September 29th article.
There is no winner in this evaluation, according to Donston. “WiscNet is taking time to digest the results of the eVal, and will make a decision that balances product capability with price. We hope to be able to report that decision in a future issue of eWEEK. However, eWEEK Labs eVals, in general, are designed not to pick a winner but to provide to our readership a sense of how products from many different vendors respond to a specific set of needs. Readers from a variety of organizations are then able to extrapolate that performance to their own needs. It’s cliche, but one size never fits all. We’re attempting with eVals to provide real-world context so that our readers can make better-informed decisions for their own organizations.”
“eWEEK Labs’ eValuation stands out from other reviews of anti-spam solutions because it assesses both products and delivery methods against real-world criteria,” said Eric Lundquist, editor-in-chief, eWEEK. “The Labs also provide very practical tools that will make it easier for any enterprise to test products against their own organization-specific needs, including a comprehensive RFP template.”
“This experience will help us make a well-informed decision on what to select for an anti-spam solution for WiscNet,” said Kika Barr, technical support manager, WiscNet.
“These are not stand-alone, out-of-the-box reviews. We also evaluate how a vendor meets a customers needs. We look at scalability, flexibility, the ability to custom configure in the enterprise, as well as benchmark findings. Most corporations do not have these resources anymore. We believe that real-world questions that lead to real-world evaluations are valuable for our readers,” said Donston.
EWEEK corporate partner, Judy Brown, emerging technology analyst for the UW-System and Director of the Academic ADL Co-Lab, an e-learning center, helped coordinate the testing in Wisconsin as part of her role as an eWEEK Corporate Partner. EWEEK’s Corporate Partner board members include about 30 other top-level information technology executives from firms ranging from Aetna, Duke Energy, and Lockheed Martin to Sutter Health and Northwestern Mutual. The Corporate Partner Program was developed in 1990, and the group serves as an advisory board to eWEEK’s editorial staff and Labs. The Corporate Partners meet monthly through conference calls and also help judge eWeek’s Excellence Awards. The members represent eWEEK’s subscriber demographics and are usually the CIO/CTO, strategic technology analyst/planner or technology decision makers at their organizations.
Brown, commenting on the value of the eValuations, said, “We have received much better feedback and responses than going through the local sales rep for the vendor. It has been much more timely and given the vendor additional incentive to respond with the best possible pricing. We have been able to bring in outside judges with expertise in the particular area and have been able to accomplish much more in a much shorter time. We learn by listening to presentations, listening to questions, and seeing the results on the evaluations.”
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