How You Can Improve Spam Filtering and Email Security for Your Business
E-mail spam filtering has become a necessity in today’s environment. Spam and spam filtering are real money making business for many companies. Spam filtering comes in different forms. It can be embedded in your antivirus software that scans e-mail as it reaches your Outlook. You can use a server based application like GFI that scans e-mail when it hits your mail server. Or you can use a hosted solution like MX Logic that scans all your e-mail before it even gets to your server. With all these options out there and with different pricing levels which is the best solution to go with? As an Engineer working with e-mail servers for about 15 years, I believe the hosted solution is the way to go.
So the real question is, what makes a Hosted Solution better than the other two options?
1) It keeps spam and virus infected messages from ever getting to your server.
2) If your e-mail server goes down, then the hosted spam service will spool your mail until the server comes back online.
3) You access e-mail messages even when your server is offline (only with some anti-spam providers).
4) Outgoing e-mail can also be filtered.
One of the key features of a hosted solution is that the viruses and spam messages NEVER hit your server. You can’t get a virus on your system or click on a spam hyperlink, if the message never gets to the server. When you use AVG to scan Outlook for e-mail, then the e-mail message is already on your desktop. On top of that, the server doesn’t need to process these e-mail messages or run scans which frees up system resources include processor, RAM and disk space that can be used for other business related process. Why bog down your server, when an external host can do that for you?
Since all of your e-mail routes through the hosted spam filter, if your e-mail server goes down or your company internet drops, the hosted spam provider can spool your e-mail. That means that they hold on to these messages, until your server comes back up. When the server is back online, all the e-mail that was sent to you during your outage is then sent to your mail server. Your clients and customers don’t receive those bounce messages stating that your server is unavailable, meaning that they don’t have to manually resend them. As an IT organization, how does it look if Time Warner has an outage in our area and all of our customers start receiving bounced messages? A host spam solution ensures that we always get our e-mail messages, even if our internet is offline for a few hours.
In addition to just holding on to your e-mail messages, if your server goes down, MX Logic goes to the next step. They offer you the ability to read and reply to e-mail using their web interface while your e-mail server is offline. You aren’t able to get these e-mail messages in Outlook until your server comes up, but if you have that time critical message that needs an immediate response, then waiting a few hours for the mail server to come online might not be an option. MX Logic gives you the tools to log onto their service, read and reply as quickly as you can type.
Many hosted solutions provide the option to not only scan incoming mail but to scan outgoing messages as well. This feature does provide some added benefits to the people, who you communicate with, as they can be sure that mail from you is valid and virus free. However, it adds additional security for the outgoing messages, as properly configured Blacklisting services will keep you in the clear as your messages are sent through valid spam filtering organizations.
Spam and virus filtering of e-mail has become a critical service that every organization needs to leverage. For just a few dollars per user account, the benefits of a hosted spam solution greatly outweigh the risks of running filtering options on your workstation or server.
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.