How To Effectively Deal With Spam In A Business Environment

Part 3 in our 3-part series on email and Spam. Learn how ChoiceMail can save you time and money by eliminating junk email.
Published: Dec 10, 2007
Author: Nebojsa Djogo
Related OS: Windows

Effectively Deal With Spam In A Business Environment

by Nebojsa Djogo of DigiPortal

As far as email is concerned, businesses generally fall into two categories:

a) Companies that have their own mail server

b) Companies that allow their ISP to host their mail server

Spam affects both kinds of deployments equally. Companies owning their own mail server generally have better control of it while companies allowing third parties to host their mail generally have some sort of all purpose spam filter applied to their account which often deletes good messages.

ChoiceMail comes in two flavours depending on the mail server deployment above. The versions are interchangeable and one can always migrate to one or the other type of deployment.

Both solutions share similar traits and have all the features of our desktop version which we talked about in the previous article.

ChoiceMail Enterprise (CME) is suitable for companies that have their own mail server. ChoiceMail Small Business (CMSB) works better for companies that have a third party email hosting service.

Both solutions require installation on the server only and both include everything needed. For example CME and CMSB both have a built in web server. Users log into the ChoiceMail interface using any web browser from their desktop.

Both ChoiceMail solutions give individual users the tools to manage their own email accounts simply and easily. Yet they also let you apply group and global settings to establish and maintain company-wide email policies.

To see the basics of ChoiceMail operation I suggest that you read the previous article about the desktop product as it covers this topic in more detail. Similar principles apply to our business products.

Listing all the features, benefits and technicalities associated with any spam product is obviously helpful, but my philosophy about anti-spam tools was always to try to achieve three goals:

  • 1. Block ALL spam and have ZERO false positives.
  • 2. Require as little interaction as possible from end users and administrators
  • 3. If user or administrator still has to change something, make the interface as usable as possible.

I think that ChoiceMail Enterprise and Small Business managed to achieve all three design goals.

The real goal of a good spam solution should be to save you time. If all you get is more time so that you can tweak the same anti-spam solution � you did not really gain much.

ChoiceMail Enterprise

ChoiceMail Enterprise is an email gateway that works with any mail server, including Microsoft Exchange 5.5, 2000, 2003, 2007, Domino, GroupWise, Imail, SendMail, Netscape, etc.

Email gateway means that it can be installed on the same computer as the main mail server or on a completely different one. In any case, the amount of messages that the real mail server has to deal with usually goes down by 60-80% depending on the amount of spam someone is receiving.

ChoiceMail Enterprise can protect the whole organization or one can choose which people and email addresses will be protected by it. This reduces the initial deployment cost dramatically and allows administrators to keep certain email addresses completely unfiltered.

Each user can simply open up their web browser and log into their ChoiceMail account on their server and take a look at their spam or their junk box. Maybe change some settings if they want to.

Administrators have special access pages where they can control the overall policies, global whitelist, spam amounts and so on.

Users and administrators can export their existing contacts into a CSV format and import either local or global whitelist when ChoiceMail is initially deployed to reduce the amount of indentity queries that are sent to known contacts.

All other features from the single user product are available in ChoiceMail enterprise. The process is the same with the exception that, by default, a registered person will be automatically unlocked and put onto the user's whitelist to reduce the need for manual action. This can obviously be changed in the ChoiceMail preferences.

ChoiceMail Small Business

ChoiceMail Small Business is a POP3 retriever and server that clean the mail before it gets into the user�s email application.

It does this by downloading all the mail from the ISPs mail server and then serves only clean mail to the clients. Like ChoiceMail Enterprise � ChoiceMail Small Business has a web browser interface for user interaction. It also has an experimental client interface which looks much like ChoiceMail single user interface.

In CMSB, users can be selected for protection as well at which point two steps must be performed.

  • 1)Add a user account in ChoiceMail and specify the POP3 source for that user. Which basically means fill the ISP information in.
  • 2)Change the users email application to get the mail from ChoiceMail rather than the ISP mail server.

Once these two steps are done, ChoiceMail Small Business behaves much like a cross between ChoiceMail single user and ChoiceMail enterprise.

nder the hood" it will download mail periodically for each users, make the good mail available and request the identity verification for unknown senders. At the same time each user space is separate and each individual can log into their own ChoiceMail space.

Administrators still get to manage the overall policies and global whitelists, blacklists, accepted domains, rejected domains, rules and so on.

If a company decides to switch to ChoiceMail Enterprise in the future, ChoiceMail can keep all of the information intact. Users get the same user interface and all the settings are preserved.

ChoiceMail Small Business can be accessed from outside the network or through a VPN connection and supports small devices like mobile phones and PDAs.

Key Features and Benefits of both ChoiceMail Enterprise and Small Business

Key Features:

  • Permission-based email management. Only approved, wanted mail gets in.
  • Multiple levels of quarantine plus sender identity verification process assure that no legitimate, wanted email is lost.
  • Individual/group/global whiteists, blacklists and permission rules provide maxium first-time accuracy on legitimate messages.
  • Permission-based screening and secure sender verification protect your network from intrusion.
  • Save message previewer lets users view questionable mail without activating any content.
  • Fully customizable, including custom new sender registration request, registration page, auto away and other messages control how your organization is seen by others.
  • Gateway architecture in CME keeps unknown/unwanted messages off the server/network. In CMSB spam is stopped before it reaches the email application.
  • Protects you from viruses, bugs, trojans and other dangerous content. It allows most anti-virus programs to remove infected messages before they reach the server or the client's email application.
  • Increases capacity by keeping unnecessary traffic off the mail server and network.
  • Lets you decide which email addresses to protect - all or only those with the worst spam problem
  • User-based licensinof your installation and your investment.
  • Permission-based screening uses information unique to your company and users.
  • Self-updates as you work; does not require you to update block-lists, etc.
  • Browser-based administration and user access.
  • Can be accessed remotely via any browser-equipped wireless device.
  • Supports multiple languages for sender verification; also supports visually impaired users.
  • Key Benefits:

  • 100% effective - get ZERO spam; lose ZERO wanted messages.
  • Safe and secure
  • Increased productivity - published research shows companies pay each employee $400-800 just to read and delete spam!
  • Enjoy individualized user-level spam protection, while still maintaining corporate image and email policies
  • Fully customizable - adapts to you, not the other way around
  • Saves time - quick and easy to install, requires virtually no maintenance
  • Saves money - through increased network capacity with no infrastructure investment
  • Protects your work and work environment from dangerous and offensive content
  • Scalable investment

You can try ChoieMail Enterprise and ChoiceMail Small business free of charge for 14 days and see if it suits you. Just visit the DigiPortal's website at www.digiportal.com and click on your ChoiceMail edition. Then request a free trial and someone will contact you with pricing information as well as all the help you need to get started.

You really have to try the software to get a real picture about how it works and how effective it is. Your users have to try it and see if ChoiceMail is something they will like.

Again, I am obviously in favour of this particular solution as I am part of the team that built it and know how well designed and thought of it is. In the last five or so years that I have been using ChoiceMail on my systems - I have never lost a piece of important email and my mailboxes are always squeaky clean.

As I said before. Together with SPF, Sender-Id and possibly other forms of verifying the sender's authenticity. This IS the answer to spam problems!

Part 1 - Email Basics and Spam

Part 2 - Effectively Fight Spam With ChoiceMail

If you have a question on how to do something on the computer you can submit it via email by clicking HERE You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.

About Nebojsa Djogo

Nebojsa Djogo has been in the computer industry since 1984. He is the president of Software River Solutions, Inc. - a small software company based in Ottawa, Canada. For the past six years he has been the VP of software development at DigiPortal Software and has been working on the ChoiceMail project since its beginning. He currently lives and works in Ottawa, Canada

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