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A Publication of WTVP

Email usage is an essential communications tool for both small and large businesses and is growing by leaps and bounds. As we know all too well, the amount and the variety of spam, or unsolicited emails, can be mind-boggling at times. According to the most recent estimates, emailed spam and viruses account for over 90 percent of all email. This can place enormous operational and financial burdens on organizations. Some estimates even indicate that the average daily amount of spam increased nearly 30 percent from January 2006 through August 2006.

Spam can also cost your organization in other ways, such as decreased productivity from employees sifting through unwanted emails, or even worse, with viruses. Spam that reaches employees’ inboxes heightens vulnerability to viruses, scams and even stolen information. Administration costs also increase for businesses trying to combat this problem on their own network.

Options to combat this are: installing spam and virus software on each individual computer/workstation, or, for larger networks, installing a software package on the internal mail server. These are effective solutions, but they are not without some disadvantages. Centralized management is compromised when software is installed on individual computers, and there are increased costs and time lost for administering, troubleshooting and maintaining this solution.

Mail server solutions are usually more effective and allow for more control and efficiency with centralized management. The downside is that the volume of spam emails that reach the internal server will result in a performance hit, and may require increased expenses or the need for larger server space and requirements.

Another solution is to utilize a managed security service that is offered by a Security Service Provider or offered through many Internet Service Providers. All email messages are run through an external filtering management system that filters out the spam and virus emails before they reach your computer or internal servers and network. A managed service relieves many administrative burdens from deploying and managing your own protection and does not require any equipment to install, upgrade or maintain. A managed security service can be an effective solution for a business with one or two computers or for businesses with multiple computer networks.

Spooling email is another benefit of an external managed security service. If a business has an internal email server go down, most filtering service providers will automatically spool, or store, your email for a certain period of days, enabling the business to save any email during the down time.

There is no perfect way to end spam, but these are a few ways to effectively control it so that it does not become a financial drain on your network and your business. IBI

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