The average business email user sends and receives over 100 emails a day.  As an above average user of email nothing frustrates me more than getting a “new mail” ding to find out that the email is junk.  It breaks my concentration and takes time away from the task at hand to review, identify, and delete the spam.  Many productivity mangers will tell you to turn off those new mail indicators and check your email at regular predetermined intervals.  Unfortunately, this approach does not lend itself well to the nature of my position.

Traditional spam and email virus protection, still used by many service providers, filter email with networked-based appliances or server-based software.  Often it is necessary to deploy two different types of software solutions, a server-based virus scanner and a spam filter.  Administering this approach can become costly.  In addition to the capital cost of the appliance or software, continuous attention and monitoring is necessary to ensure that the solution is running and maintained with the most recent software updates.

In the past we implemented these on-premise approaches to screening email and even helped author our own filtering software.  Times have changed, and so has our approach for keeping inboxes clean.  Today we use a software as a service (SaaS) solution from our partner Reflexion Networks.

Freedom Mail Security (FMS) is a SaaS solution that screens spam and email-borne malware before it enters your network.  By filtering email outside of your network, FMS reduces unnecessary Internet activity into your environment, removes server load that would otherwise be running applications for screening email, and helps save disk space by keeping junk mail off your server.

FMS is a flexible solution that can be easily customized at the individual level.  Within the user properties of the web interface, aggressiveness of the filter can be adjusted to 3 predetermined levels or set to a custom level of your choosing.  Additional filtering can be done based on language and/or the country of origin of messages.  For example, if you only receive valid email in English from particular countries; your FMS filter can be setup to only accept mail that is in English from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  All other mail will be quarantined.  Many individuals find this helpful in reducing foreign-based spam that is often difficult to filter by traditional methods.

Protection of your organization’s reputation is an often overlooked part of email security.  If one of your corporate computers caught a virus that spams and spreads viruses to your customers, suppliers, or partners, the result to your business relationships could be devastating.

FMS screens outbound messages to safeguard from this type of activity.  As a result, your email domain is protected from getting blacklisted and tracking down compromised machines that could lead to the loss of sensitive corporate information is made easier.

An additional feature of FMS that is less known is its ability to queue up mail if your server is unavailable.  In the event that your Internet connection is down or your mail server is offline for maintenance, messages are held within FMS and delivered when your server becomes available.  This prevents senders from receiving delivery failure notification during this downtime.

Although most users of Freedom Mail Security will find the default settings sufficient, customizing some of the properties mentioned may reduce your spam to zero if you are seeing spam slip through the cracks.  Through a couple of small adjustments I have been able to minimize the amount of spam that sneaks in significantly and feel more productive as a result.