Thursday, 31 January 2013 20:03

How to defend against harmful spam email

Spam emails are on the rise. In fact, according to a recent report by securelist.com, the percentage of spam in email traffic is now more than 77 percent. Not only are spam emails annoying, in some cases they can also be dangerous. In order to combat malicious cyber attacks, it’s important to keep your network protected.

“Spam and antivirus filtering provides a defense against internal and external threats such as spam, viruses, spyware, phishing schemes, identity theft and other dangerous content before it gets to your computer or network,” says Alex Desberg, sales and marketing director at Ohio.net.

Smart Business spoke with Desberg about email security, how to effectively block spam and the emerging trend of archiving email.

What are some reasons businesses should be concerned about email security?

Email is certainly not new. Over the years it has become an important conduit for conducting business, so much so that the technology is taken for granted. As a result, businesses have become complacent in terms of their email protection. Inbound emails can carry a wide variety of security threats, all of which have the potential to interrupt a company’s daily operations and expose an organization to unscrupulous forces. On the flip side, emails sent from an organization may expose the fact that its network is not as secure as its customers would expect it to be. This can be damaging from an image standpoint. Getting a virus from a business contact vividly illustrates that it doesn’t take its Internet security seriously.

How does virus and spam blocking work as a service rather than as software?

There are two ways to do virus and spam blocking. The first way is to install software on your server that manages threatening email. The other way is to handle it as a service, where you are running all of your inbound and outbound emails through an off-site service. In essence, the off-site service provider is managing your threats for you. This helps reduce expenses and possibly even the bandwidth needed for daily operations. A service provider will scrub all of your emails before they get to your network so those that are potentially threatening don’t disrupt your business. Also during the scrubbing process, a service provider can identify trends of threatening email and rule out sources of where such emails originate.

Why is it important to block spam before it reaches a network?

Blocking spam before it reaches a network keeps threats at arm’s length so they don’t affect resources such as PCs and servers. It also reduces the volume of spam that flows through PCs handling emails, which can reduce the burden that’s placed on the available bandwidth. We’ve worked with organizations that, after we’ve installed virus and spam blocking, came to find out that as much as 50 percent of their Internet traffic was being used just to handle the volume of spam emails. With the reduction in traffic, they are able to realize a cost savings.

How can important email be archived?

Archiving is a new trend for email management. With archiving, you can hold on to emails in order to meet requirements for regulatory compliance, litigation issues and business best practice guidelines. There are solutions companies can utilize to implement secure email archiving that can be scaled to fit the requirements of organizations of any size.

Another emerging trend is e-discovery, which allows an organization to interface with an archive so email searches can be conducted using a specific date, keyword or subject.

Alex Desberg is the sales and marketing director at Ohio.net. Reach him at adesberg@ohio.net.

Insights Telecommunications is brought to you by Ohio.net

Published in Cleveland