I recently wrote a blog on The Cost of Spam, per Google where I advised SMBs to attach a cost to the spam they receive. I also touched on the various common approaches to spam filtering that an SMB might adopt, which I elaborated on in more detail in this earlier blog, Ways an SMB Can Implement Spam Filtering.
Anyway, one popular approach to tackling spam is to rely on a managed filtering service, or a hosted anti-spam solution. What are the merits of a hosted anti-spam solution, you ask? I posed this question to Joel Abramson, VP of Business Development over at Greenview Data, who operates a hosted anti-spam service aptly called SpamStopsHere.
Below are four reasons why Abramson considers a hosted solution to be superior. The comments are mine:
I suppose this makes perfect sense - what with no hardware upgrade or software patches to apply or download for a hosted anti-spam solution. All an SMB needs to do is an initial configuration of their mail systems to pipe all incoming e-mails directly to their hosted filtering service of choice. And that's it - no maintenance is required once that's done.
Keep viruses as far away as possible
While it is unlikely that malware-infested e-mails that are already identified will be clicked by accident, it makes intuitive sense not to have any form of viruses on your computer if it can be helped.
Assuming you run your own mail server, the use of a filtered e-mail service should help ensure that e-mails will not be lost if your SMB's mail server experiences an outage. This is because cleansed e-mails are typically processed using a "store and forward" methodology. What it means is that e-mails will be safely "stored" by your hosted anti-spam solution provider until your mail server comes back online.
This is an important benefit that is not apparent unless one is familiar with how e-mail works in conjunction with DNS. Essentially, the "forwarding" of e-mails to any hosted anti-spam solution is achieved by modifying the MX record for the domain of your SMB. The result is that all e-mails to your domain will be delivered directly to your service provider. What this translates to is a reduction in the consumption of bandwidth by your mail server, since the spam mails would already have been removed from the incoming e-mails.
Do you have any experiences, both good or bad, with hosted anti-spam services? Feel free to post a comment here or drop me an e-mail.
Greenview Data, Inc is a privately-held company that excels in enterprise anti-spam, anti-virus, email archiving and file conversion products and services. The company's anti-spam product, SpamStopsHere was heralded as "the most accurate hosted anti-spam solution available" by Network Computing Magazine.