Proofpoint Enterprise Protection: Product overview

Expert Karen Scarfone examines the Proofpoint Enterprise Protection email security gateway product, which scans inbound and outbound email messages for malware, phishing and spam threats.

Proofpoint Enterprise Protection is one of many email security gateway products currently on the market. It is specifically designed to examine inbound and outbound email messages to determine if they contain threats such as spam, malware and phishing attempts. If any such threats are detected, the associated email messages are blocked from delivery. Having an email security gateway is recommended for most organizations today because such a large percentage of attacks are transmitted via email.

Product versions

The Proofpoint Enterprise Protection product is available for cloud architectures, local hardware appliance deployments, virtual appliance deployments and hybrid architectures.

For the local hardware appliances, there are currently three models available:

  • P650 (agent appliance)
  • P850 (master appliance for smaller-volume deployments)
  • P850M (master appliance for larger-volume deployments)

Security capabilities

All of the basic security capabilities typically offered by email security gateway products are supported by Proofpoint Enterprise Protection, including antivirus, antimalware, antiphishing, and antispam. In addition, Proofpoint Enterprise Protection offers several advanced capabilities, covering a wider range of detection enhancements than any other major product in the email security gateway category. These advanced capabilities include the following:

  • Executable sandboxing
  • Threat intelligence through dynamic reputation services
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) through the Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite
  • email encryption through the Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite
  • Message tracing
  • Deep content analysis

The Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite is a companion product (an add-on) to Proofpoint Enterprise Protection that offers a variety of privacy-related protections for outbound email messages.

Detection vccuracy

Proofpoint publishes statistics on the Proofpoint Enterprise Protection's effectiveness in stopping spam. They guarantee that cloud-based deployments will be at least 99% effective in stopping spam, and on-premises deployments will be at least 99.8% effective in stopping spam.


The Proofpoint Enterprise Protection product is available through a variety of licensing arrangements that depend on which deployment model is being used (for example, cloud-based versus local hardware appliance). The Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite is available through subscription-based licenses that include technical support.

Free trials of both the Proofpoint Enterprise Protection product and the Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite add-on are available through the vendor's website.


The Proofpoint Enterprise Security product supports every email security gateway deployment model other than server-based, which is not supported by most products any more. So compared to most other email security gateway products, Proofpoint Enterprise Security offers a wider range of deployment options. Proofpoint's hardware appliances are more geared toward medium and large-size organizations because even the least powerful options of the appliance model support a considerable volume of email messages. However, Proofpoint's cloud and virtual appliance deployments are well suited for organizations of any size, including small ones.

Proofpoint Enterprise Security is most notable for providing the widest range of advanced security capabilities of all the major email security gateway products. These include the basics -- antivirus, antimalware, antiphishing and antispam -- as well as executable sandboxing, threat intelligence, DLP, email encryption, message tracing and deep content analysis. Some of these capabilities are made available through the Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite add-on, which is highly recommended for use whenever Proofpoint Enterprise Security is being deployed.

Virtually any organization could meet its email security needs through use of the Proofpoint Enterprise Security and Proofpoint Enterprise Privacy Suite products.

Next Steps

In part one of this series, learn the basics of email security gateways in the enterprise

In part two of this series, read about the enterprise use cases for email security gateways

In part three of this series, find out about the purchasing criteria for email security gateway products

In part four of this series, compare the best email security gateways in the industry

Dig Deeper on Threats and vulnerabilities

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