To stop spam from reaching employees’ inboxes, companies are turning to anti-spam email solutions that run in the cloud. Here are six things to keep in mind when looking for one.
Spam accounts for 85% of all email traffic — and a good portion of it lands in employees’ inboxes. Besides being an annoying time sink, these unsolicited messages can sometimes be dangerous if they are weaponized.
To stop spam from reaching employees’ inboxes, companies are turning to cloud anti-spam email services. These services filter emails before they reach companies’ mail servers so that employees receive only legitimate messages. Like with other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, businesses do not need to purchase or maintain any hardware to use the service. This can save them money, time, and hassle.
If your business is in the market for a cloud anti-spam email service, here are six things to keep in mind when looking for one:
- Is It Easy to Set Up?
Setting up a cloud anti-spam email service should require minimal time since there is no hardware to install. Often the setup simply requires making some configuration changes on the mail server. (If you have to install any kind of software on your employees’ computers, you might want to consider a different service.) Onboarding email accounts should also be a simple process, even if you have many of them.
- What Types of Threats Are Blocked?
All cloud anti-spam email services look for and block basic types of spam such as phishing emails, unsolicited advertisements, chain letters, and pornography emails. Some services, though, use artificial intelligence, multi-factor analysis, heuristics, and other advanced technologies, enabling them to find less obvious spam. Often this type of spam is more dangerous. For example, business email compromise (BEC) scams and emails containing malicious attachments are harder to spot and potentially more harmful to businesses than unsolicited advertisements.
- Is Outbound Mail Scanned?
All cloud anti-spam email services scan inbound messages for spam, but not every service scans outbound emails. Scanning outbound messages can save your company’s reputation if an employee unknowingly sends a malware-infected email to a customer or supplier. Plus, thanks to the scan, you would be able to track down who sent that email and eliminate the source of the problem. (The person’s computer is likely infected with the same malware.)
- Is Greylisting Used?
Greylisting is a spam detection technique that is effective at stopping spam sent from new sources (i.e., spam sent from IP addresses that have not been blacklisted yet). Here is how it works: The first email from any new sender is refused. In other words, it is sent back to the sender’s email server. Legitimate companies will have their email servers resend the message, whereas spammers typically do not because are too busy pumping out spam emails.
- How Is the Quarantine System Set Up?
Most cloud anti-spam email services quarantine certain types of spam. How the quarantine system is designed varies among the service providers, so you will need to find out how it is set up for the candidates you are considering. Common designs include:
- Having one centralized quarantine for the entire company (managed by a company administrator)
- Having a quarantine for each employee (managed by the employee)
- Having a customizable quarantine for a group of employees (managed by the employees in the group)
- Some combination of A, B, and C
When a person is responsible for managing the quarantine, he or she has the authority to release an email being stored in it. Once released, it is delivered to the intended recipient(s). Some service providers offer a self-service portal that employees can use to manage their quarantines.
- Does the Service Offer Temporary Email Storage?
Some cloud anti-spam email service providers will temporarily store a company’s emails if its email server cannot receive emails due to an Internet/power outage, server failure, or disaster (e.g., fire, tornado). For example, they might store the company’s incoming emails free of charge for a few days but charge a fee for longer stays. In some cases, the service providers will set up a web portal for the company so that employees can send and receive emails.