Magazine Topic – Offload AS and AV

I was working on a magazine topic yesterday and I spit out the following words. Then I realized that I only had 1200 words total for the topic and this section is one of five. To satisfy the topic requirements I have to say what I want in far less words then I did here; back to the writing board. Instead of tossing this out I will post it here for the fun of it.

Offload spam and antivirus processing

Depending on the day, the author, the study, the sales person we are told that 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60+ percent of all messages are spam. Let’s take a number, I like to make up statistics on the spot just as much as the next guy, 35% and say for the purpose of argument that that is how much of our email is spam. If you flipped a magic switch and you made the 35% of your messages that are spam vanish forever, guaranteed, how much load would you remove from your servers? I bet you said 35%. If you did you are right, but you are not totally right. If you were able to remove all of the spam and guarantee that you would not receive any more spam would you have to run AntiSpam (SP) software anymore? I ask this because there is a load to scan every message on a server to see if it is spam. That load is spread across every message, not just the spam messages.

Offloading AntiSpam and Antivirus (AV) to an external company can greatly reduce the amount of resources that your servers have to dedicate to SMTP; the major benefits are as follows:

  • Restricted Connections   When you offload SMTP to a third party you can configure out Exchange server to ONLY receive SMTP email from that provider. That greatly limits the number of external connections, and in my book adds an additional level of security.
  • Reduction in Message Volume   Messages are blocked before they reach your internet connection, this lessons that amount of bandwidth that you need, and removes piles of email that your server might have had to process (35% in our made up example) You will not be able to replicate or offer the level the spam and virus that you get from a massive dedicated team in-house; its that simple.
  • Reduction in Load   This one is simple math, less scanning of every message and a total reduction in message volume results in less load on the server.
  • Less Software   With someone else cleaning your email stream you don’t need AV or AS software on your Exchange server that you have to pay for, update, troubleshoot, learn, and manage. This frees up time and resources to allocate to other projects.
  • Scale   Your company has X number of users, and A number of dedicated Exchange engineers. A third party message hygiene provider will have Y companies your size ( (Y x X = more users then you) and (A x Y = more dedicated engineers then you) ) With more dedicated engineers and more messages to deal with a third party provider will be more responsive to new threats because they will see them first, and they will have better consistency in cleaning messages because they are dedicating to being good at it.

How do I set this up you are asking? Ask your parents, your friends, your local grocery store clerk for a third party recommendation, I don’t think so, plus I don’t have a great answer. Exchange Hosted Filtering from Microsoft costs less than 2$ or a month per head, or you get it included with the Enterprise CAL. Message labs has always been a top contender in the field and they resale their services through third party provides like the one that I work for Azaleos – In my world those are the only two providers I would consider, but I might be biased = ] The picture below represents how the Azaleos Solution works.

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