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Why Use Anti-Spam together with Exchange Server?

Spam is still one of the biggest problems facing those who are in charge of and manage the company’s email system. Not only do junk mail marketing and ridiculous scams waste resources and clog up valuable storage space, but spam is used to deliver malware and phishing attacks. Both of which can be used to cause some serious damage to a company’s computer resources or financial accounts.

To help combat spam, Microsoft offers a built-in solution for their Exchange Servers. While configuring this feature to fight spam has its benefits, you may want to double check whether Exchange’s anti-spam functionality is really the best you can do to protect your organization’s email system.

You can argue that something is better than nothing or that the built-in spam fighting solution is tailored to work specifically with Exchange; but the reality is that third-party anti-spam solutions generally offer far better protection against email borne attacks.

If you’re not convinced, here are a couple of reasons why you should be using a separate anti-spam solution in tandem with your Exchange Server.

1. Third-party anti-spam solutions offer management consoles that are easy-to-use

Enabling anti-spam functionality on an Edge Transport server requires some basic knowledge of the Shell to run the installation script and set specific parameters. However, fine-tuning your anti-spam filtering will require a higher level of knowledge of how to use the Shell or EMC to configure the different allow or block lists.

Any robust third-party solution will have a management console from where you can configure the various filters. Furthermore, if you make a mistake in the settings on a third-party solution this will not adversely affect the security settings on the mail server itself. Should you make the same mistake using the built-in spam filtering feature of Exchange, you could open up a security hole on the server.

2. Third-party anti-spam solutions offer comprehensive protection

Fighting spam has evolved past allow and deny lists. While these technologies work extremely well if you know exactly who you need to block or what words you need to filter, the technologies and methods used by spammers have long since evolved past the shelf life of simple spam fighting techniques.

To fight spam effectively, a solution needs to deploy techniques such as Bayesian filtering, blocking based on character sets, foreign language filtering and white listing. The solution should support sender policy framework (SPF), DNS block lists and automatically update known spam signatures.

A good anti-spam solution will also be ‘intelligent’ and ‘learn’ as time goes by what is spam and what is not. Users should also be able to review spam and report what is spam and what should be delivered; this helps improve the capture rather of your anti-spam solution and also gives users ‘ownership’ of their email in the process.

While the anti-spam features that Microsoft built into Exchange can stop some spam, can prevent malware from being delivered to inboxes and also some phishing attacks – it does not offer comprehensive protection.

A dedicated anti-spam solution is always the best choice if you want to cut down on junk mail, email-borne threats and subtle phishing attempts.

This guest post was provided by Jeff Orloff
on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more about third party solutions to use together with you Exchange anti-spam.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

2 Responses to “Why Use Anti-Spam together with Exchange Server?”

  1. Tom Merritt Says:

    Do you have a personal favorite or list of favorites for Exchange 2010? Thanks for a great article.

  2. Prabhat Nigam Says:

    @Tom
    There are many blogs on 2010. You can search here.

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