Cameo Audits E-mail Mischief

Companies that want to stealthily monitor Microsoft Corp. Exchange e-mail for escaping secrets, harassment or intimidation, libel, vulgarities, and time-wasting content should look into Cameo, from MicroData Group Inc.

Companies that want to stealthily monitor Microsoft Corp. Exchange e-mail for escaping secrets, harassment or intimidation, libel, vulgarities, and time-wasting content should look into Cameo, from MicroData Group Inc. However, those that prefer to prevent harassment lawsuits to begin with or block secret strategies and designs from going out the door should look elsewhere.

Cameo, which shipped last month, costs $395 for up to 50 users and $195 per 100 additional users. It is easy to implement and records a broad range of violations, useful either for helping management detect and warn employees who cross the line or for building a case against individuals suspected of abusing the mail system without tipping them off that they are being observed.

However, PC Week Labs' tests show that Cameo does not prevent violations of corporate policy, as does Content Technologies Inc.'s Mailsweeper. Rather than censoring mail, Cameo puts the burden of ensuring good e-mail behavior on users through their fear of being monitored.

Cameo works by detecting keywords from a list of common profanity and a custom list of as many as 60 organization- specific keywords (see screen) and sending copies of mail that includes these keywords to predefined mailboxes. As a side benefit, Cameo could be used to route legitimate mail to specific employees or departments for action. It is of negligible use in fighting spam.

Cameo performs its analysis from any Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT workstation by monitoring mail archive directories; it therefore does not hinder throughput or the reliability of mail servers.

It supports only Exchange mail servers and monitors only external (Internet) mail traffic.

MicroData Group, of Topsfield, Mass., can be reached at (800) 924-8167 or www.microdata.com.

For PC Week Labs' Nov. 15 review of Content Technologies' Mailsweeper, go to www.zdnet.com/pcweek/stories/news/0,4153,2391281,00.html.