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Hosted spam filter vs. Exchange add-on spam filter

Email spam is an annoying issue for every company. Dealing with spam is a time waster and the risks of infecting the company servers and computers with harmful virus and malware is even more of liability. Recent studies show that overall spam levels have significantly decreased in the last few years to a level of approximately 80%, but a spike in more focused attacks is expected to continue in 2013. The decision to use a spam filter for a company is not only very relevant, but a must have in today’s world.

A company’s IT department has options to choose from to resolve email spam problems. Companies using MS Exchange that are looking for a spam filter have some choices if they do not want to rely on standard built in anti-spam features within Microsoft Exchange. This article will pinpoint two alternatives and discuss some considerations that need to be done before choosing among a dedicated third party anti-spam filter that is directly integrated with Microsoft Exchange locally or a hosted anti- spam solution which resides in the cloud.

 

Resources

Installing and maintaining an in-house server spam filter of course will require some resources but the specific issue regarding resources is typically how the spam filter process will put strains on the performance of the Exchange Server and hardware compared to no constraints within a solution in the cloud. There may be a factor of old hardware causing the poor performance, but likely not something that impacts too many companies. A similar argument can be said about bandwidth, in the hosted solution that solidly blocks spam outside the company and therefore not utilize bandwidth.

Features

The features of a dedicated add-on solution to an Exchange spam filter have its advantages. The option of using the information already stored on the Exchange server for setting up spam policies on an individual or group level are generally much more flexible that on a hosted solution.

Security and privacy

Hosted mail solutions are becoming more and more popular. Some might even say outsourcing is a business trend and that everything should reside in the cloud. Some of the same considerations regarding choosing a hosted Exchange server solution are also relevant for choosing a hosted spam filter. It is of course very important to address the security standards and policies of vendors and to be aware that the company’s e-mails are being filtered outside own servers. The fear of losing control over e-mail privacy is an obvious top management level priority to contain

Pricing

The bottom of the line can be the actual spam filter. Most spam filters easily remove more that 98% of spam and stay away from false positives, but pricing will always be an important factor. Different licensing models are available for both solutions but most vendors price their offerings based on a per-user model which is very flexible. For the dedicated solution there might be some initial investments in hardware and implementation fees to consider. It is difficult to outright state which solution is the most cost effective and besides some of the factors mentioned above, each company should also consider the timeframe they are facing and growth of the company. The best choice reflects the company’s present and future needs for e-mail security and the overall strategy for outsourcing.

This guest post was provided by Kim Falkner on behalf of SPAMfighter a leading provider of spam filters for companies. Learns more about SPAMfighter and exchange spam filters here: http://www.spamfighter.com/SPAMfighter/Product_SEM.asp

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