Spam Solutions

Spam Filter -
a spam filter analyzes your incoming email messages, recognizes common spam elements, and filters the junk mail into a special spam folder within your email program.

Spam Blocker - a spam blocker acts in much the same way as a spam filter with one major difference - it blocks spam.  Recognizable spam is bounced back to the sender as undeliverable, which theoretically means less spam in the future.

Spam Stopper - a spam stopper is an application with a collaborative framework.  Users forward spam (headers included) to a central archive where a list of offending senders and IP addresses is maintained. Messages from these sources are then blocked. SpamAssassin is a prime example of this group-based spam stopper approach.

Spam Appliance - a spam appliance is a hardware device attached to a network.  An evolving rules database blocks spam for all the users of that network. Bounced spam messages are usually archived for a short time for retrieval of any false bounces. Rules also allow the whitelisting of senders by user, domain, etc.


Spam Solutions for Business

by Greg Reynolds

Spam is a problem for everyone, but most businesses require a
spam solution due to the enormous volume of spam they receive.

The three main business spam solutions are:

1) Spam blockers at the desktop level

2) Spam filters at the email server level

3) Spam appliance at the email gateway
1) Spam blockers at the desktop level are a good fit for small
businesses. It's a cost-effective solution when budgets are
tight and there are fewer than fifty computer users.

A spam blocker analyzes incoming email messages, recognizes
common spam elements, and filters the junk mail into a special
spam folder within each user's email program.

Using a spam filter is one of the best anti-spam solutions.
While no spam blocker can ever be 100% accurate, a good one
will block 90-95% of all incoming spam. Instead of dealing
with ten or twenty spam messages in your inbox, now you are
annoyed by only one or two.

Solution: One of the simplest spam blockers to use is
CloudMark's SpamNet filter. Simply download the file, click
once to install, and you are instantly blocking 90% of all
incoming spam.

Simply tag the ones that escape the filtering process and
you are now part of a collaborative effort that updates the
group spam filter for everyone.

CloudMark's SpamNet provides a 30-day free trial period.
Business users are billed $3.99 a month for each email
account protected by SpamNet.

2) Spam filters at the email server level provide spam
protection at a reasonable price for many businesses.

All incoming mail is filtered and sorted at the server,
via integrated plug-ins for Exchange, GroupWise, Notes,
etc., thereby preventing spam from effecting the network.
Since virus attacks often piggyback on bogus messages
from infected computers, a server-based solution offers
several advantages over desktop-level filtering.

First, there is a single coordinated spam policy that is
implemented in just one place. Rules, exceptions,
whitelists, and other implementation techniques are
centralized, thereby simplifying spam prevention management
tasks and making them consistent throughout the company.

Second, a centralized solution lends itself to better
coordination with other protection efforts such as anti-virus
strategy, firewall rules, remote access, etc. A network
administrator handles everything, freeing up employees for
more productive tasks.

Third, a server-based solution lowers the overall cost per
user for spam prevention compared to a desktop level solution.

Fourth, and most importantly, blocking problem emails at
the server level protects desktops from contamination by
potential viruses, malware, etc. and keeps your employees
focused on their work, not fighting spam.

3) Using a spam appliance at the email gateway provides an
efficient hardware-based approach to blocking spam.

Also referred to as an email firewall, anti-spam appliances
deliver an enterprise-class gateway that ensures your email
remains reliable.

The key to minimizing the risks and costs of spam to the
enterprise is successfully blocking 90-95% of spam while
maintaining a minimal number of "false-positives."

An anti-spam appliance allows you to create policies and
spam rules based on your own definition of spam. You can
configure your anti-spam solution to take different actions
depending on the type and content of the spam detected.

An email appliance is an integrated set of anti-spam,
anti-virus, anti-hacker, content filtering, and secure
messaging capabilities - minimizing your e-mail communications
risks and reducing your e-mail management costs.

This approach is an effective way for businesses with 500+
users to combat spam and other hazards in a focused manner.

Solution: Implement the appropriate anti-spam solution based
on total number of users, available IT resources, and cost.
Greg Reynolds is a 20-year computer industry veteran and President of Net Sense, an IT consulting firm.

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