Beyond being annoying and distracting employees from their core responsibilities, spam and email threats are the source of over 90% of security threats to organizations resulting from email scams like CEO fraud attacks, ransomware, spear-phishing, etc., all of which can severely affect organizations. More and more organizations are investing in spam filtering solutions to mitigate the risks associated with email spam.
Traditionally, spam filters were physical devices installed on-premise to sieve through emails and only allow genuine emails to get through. The devices were programmed with various rules that would enable them to identify spam and email messages with malicious content - and then either delete them or direct them to a quarantine folder.
An equivalent option is now available in software form and can be installed on existing hardware. These software solutions perform the same role as the hardware device ones but are comparatively cheaper.
And now, there are cloud based spam filtering solutions that perform the same functions as hardware devices or software applications, except there are no hardware installations or software installations necessary. Filtering of all emails happens in the cloud (outside your network) before emails are delivered to your premises. This effectively makes cloud based spam filtering the simplest email protection solution to deploy.
Cloud based spam filtering has low maintenance overheads and requires significantly less capital to deploy. Licenses are subscription-based and typically purchased per user and it is therefore easy to scale. This makes cloud based spam filtering the most affordable anti-spam solution for most businesses today.
A cloud spam filter is quick and easy to implement, typically only requiring the mail exchange (MX) records to be changed to point to the filtering solution of the email service provider, a change that takes just a couple of minutes.
Also, because they are cloud based, this means that the service providers can offer spam filtering services to their clients and set up and configure the solution remotely without needing to go to the client premises.
All inbound and outbound emails are then directed through the service provider’s server and scanned and checked for any malicious or suspicious content using various techniques such as scans through RBLs, DBNSL, SUBRLs, analysis of email headers, greylisting, sandboxing, etc. to identify potential viruses, worms, malware, ransomware, phishing emails, spear-phishing attacks, Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, CEO fraud attacks, and many other advanced email threats.
Businesses are given access to a web-based portal to view spam that has been quarantined and view reports. This is also where an administrator would look for outbound emails that have been quarantined because they are flagged as dangerous. Some solutions also allow the administrators to add some of their own spam filtering policies, whitelist or blacklist senders and even apply certain rules to certain groups or users only. Because it is web-based, the portal can be accessed from anywhere and any device, as long as it has an active internet connection.
There are many benefits of using a cloud-based spam filter over a hardware device or in-house software solution:
The third-party cloud based spam filtering service provider is responsible for updating their software. This leaves you to focus on your business rather than worrying about keeping your anti-spam solution updated regularly.
Because the scanning and quarantining takes place in the cloud on the service provider’s servers, there is no negative impact on the client’s network or mail server performance that may result from resource usage.
Unlike on-premise software and hardware email security solutions, most cloud based spam filters are compatible with almost all operating systems and applications.
Cloud spam filters are easier to scale compared to hardware spam filtering solutions. With hardware solutions, if the number increases beyond a certain limit, you may be forced to purchase an additional device to increase capacity. In contrast, with cloud based spam filtering, contracts with suppliers can easily be adjusted upwards or downwards as the business changes. For some, it is as easy as signing up your additional users on a website to get additional licenses.
A number of service providers now also offer prospective customers the option of trying their cloud based spam filtering services for some time before they commit to signing up.
Does cloud based email filtering delay arrival/delivery of email messages?
While there may be some latency due to emails traveling through to a remote filter, in most cases, it is indiscernible. Any delays to the speed at which emails are delivered will more likely be attributed to the number of tests and policies applied to the cloud based spam filter – and in this case, it is important to note thaat this delay would still be the case even if the email filtering solution was a hardware device or in-house software solution.
How does greylisting reduce the volume of spam?
While real-time block lists (RBLs) prevent the delivery of spam emails from known sources of spam, greylisting returns all inbound emails the first time they are encountered from a particular IP address with a request for the emails to be resent. Most legitimate email servers will retry sending such messages. However, spammer’s mail servers are typically too busy to respond to the requests and therefore, their emails are never resent.
Doesn’t grey-listing delay the delivery of genuine emails?
It may, but usually by no more than just a few minutes. If the delay in delivery is a concern, one way to get around it is to create whitelists for approved senders, so their emails bypass the grey-listing process. Most cloud-based spam filtering solutions allow you to easily add known email contacts to an approved senders’ list (whitelist).
Why is it important to filter outbound emails?
Scanning outbound emails minimizes the chances that emails from your organization will be delivered with content that may be considered spam by another spam filter configured with high spam confidence levels or that an attachment being sent to a third party contains malicious software. Outbound email filtering can also help identify compromised email accounts.
MailSafi offers a highly effective cloud-based spam filtering solution. As one of the leading email security service providers, MailSafi’s technology is comprises sophisticated threat detection engines and advanced threat protection mechanisms to identify and block more known and emerging threats.
MailSafi’s cloud-based spam filtering service enables you to:
Block 99.9% of spam messages with zero or very low false positives.
Scan all your inbound and outbound email to detect any suspicious or malicious attachments and links to minimize the risk that users will accidentally click on these.
Improve your employee productivity by minimizing the amount of junk email they have to sift through in their mailboxes before coming to genuine emails.
Have access to your organization’s spam portal to view reports, and where necessary, add any rules you may want to including blacklisting and whitelisting senders.
Rest assured that your organization is protected from advanced email-borne threats such as email phishing, spear-phishing, CEO fraud, ransomware, etc.
Reducing disruption to communication by email spam protecting your email server from distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.
Have access to 24*7 support in case of any queries or concerns.
Sign up for MailSafi Email Security, our comprehensive cloud-based spam filtering service. You can also check out our full email hosting solution - MailSafi Email & Collaboration. MailSafi Email & Collaboration comes in three plans to serve different user needs.
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