While most e-mail platforms offer scanning and filtering, this is often not enough security to protect yourself from spammers and hackers.. Basic e-mail filtering isn't sufficient to provide adequate spam detection, and they often allow phishing, and potential threats through to the network.
Online security specialists generally believe that the number of email and phishing attacks are on the rise. Companies can improve their security awareness and decrease the risk of email threats by applying dedicated anti-spam filtering services.
What Anti-Spam E-mail Filters Actually Do
E-mail filters use various security mechanisms to detect spam and dangerous e-mails. This includes blacklists of senders and websites included in spam. These mechanisms are updated in real-time to protect against newly created attacks.
A powerful anti-virus engine also looks for links to malware and sites that hide the real identity of the proxy server. In order to allow the system administrator to decide whether to send quarantined e-mail messages to the account owner, who can also whitelist or avoid the sender later, these e-mails will also be included in the quarantine report.
Other important functions of a robust e-mail filtering service are reports and analytics. Having an understanding of who is being targeted inside your organization helps your IT security team be more proactive in preventing threats.
Experts estimate that 70 to 95% of daily e-mails are spam messages from blacklisted domains and servers. Having an additional external e-mail scan prevents companies from sending spam and viruses and also prevents their e-mail domains from becoming blacklisted. If your domain is blacklisted, other spam filters will block e-mails, invalidate your business process, and slow down company productivity.
Choosing an email filter
Choosing the proper e-mail filtering service can be tricky. There are many providers on the market that claim their products are "the best" and their claims are usually reinforced by associate marketers. Associate marketers are more likely to benefit from the evaluation process by placing a specific e-mail filter service on top of the other in order to obtain financial benefits.
To evaluate an e-mail filtering solution for your business, you could spend hours researching the solutions on the market or contact Blue Ridge Technology . If you choose the former, you need to ask the vendors the following:
- Can the requested levels of spam and virus detection be confirmed?
- How many e-mails (called false positives) were inadvertently blocked?
- Is the e-mail filtering service compatible with your e-mail current system?
- Can the service be scaled to increase or decrease the level of service as needed?
- Does the solution have reliable 24x7 customer service?
When selecting an e-mail filtering service, the solution provider must also be able to give you a consistent reference or at least a description of the effective online inspection site. If your question has been answered satisfactorily, you should at that time consider the cost of the email filtering service in comparison to the productivity ROI (return on investment).
A firewall is a security appliance that thwarts unauthorized access including access from a private computer network. Firewalls are often referred to as gateways to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the network from the internet. Many of today’s business class firewalls also provide another layer of e-mail filtering or security. We at Blue Ridge Technology recommend that you have an external or MX record redirect to an e-mail filtering service as well as the firewall service.
How Do E-mail Firewalls Work? Generally, spam is obvious as it will say something like, "Free! Last Chance! Click Here!" But it is routed through the e-mail filter and then again at the firewall before landing in your inbox. There are many popular e-mail firewalls such as Meraki and Sonicwall, to name just a couple. However, how does the firewall not know what spam is? The e-mail filtering service on the firewall works very much like the external service where the firewall is updating in real-time the spam definitions to keep you protected. Even with a firewall, your network is still at risk of compromise. Risks and threats can come in the form of phishing attacks and malware hidden in e-mail attachments. Malware is usually downloaded by clicking on an e-mail attachment or an e-mail link.
How Spam Filtering Increases Productivity
E-mail filtering is the process of checking for threats, viruses, malware contained in each e-mail sent to your company. By not being inundated with spam, malware and other bothersome e-mail messages, employees can stay focused on doing their jobs and not having to spend hours deleting e-mails. In the article, The Economics of Spam by Brad Plumer published by Washington Post on August 12, 2012, he states that “The average person's time is worth $25 per hour and that it takes, on average, five seconds to delete spam. If that's true, spam costs users about $14 billion”. With that being over 6 years ago, the cost has most definitely increased.
Minimize the risk of blacklisting
If your mail server is found to be sending malicious or unwanted messages monitoring services will blacklist your domain. Domains who become blacklisted will not be able to receive e-mail until they are cleared from the list. This is a very time consuming and difficult process. To minimize the chance of becoming blacklisted, be sure to take every and all security precautions recommended by Blue Ridge Technology or your IT security provider.
Provide additional e-mail storage and archiving options
The external filtering service can also store e-mails sent and received for archival and compliance purposes. In the case of HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley compliance requirements, you must have a minimum of 7 years of all e-mail communications achieved. In some cases, certain industries require e-mail archiving. This can complement or in some cases replace internal e-mail archives. In addition, e-mail archiving allows for another layer of security in case of disaster or deletion.
Provide a buffer if your mail server is down
When you lose internet connectivity to your mail server or if you have an onsite mail server and it goes down, the archiving service will allow e-mails to be held until you are able to reconnect. Once connectivity is reestablished, the archive will begin delivery of mail to your inbox.
At the end of the day it comes down to this, do you really want the headache and unnecessary worry about whether or not your company email is at risk? Probably not. Blue Ridge Technology can remove this burden from you mind. Get in touch with us today and let us explain how easy it is for us to secure all of your e-mail communications.