Picking Your Anti-Spam Poison: The Spam Series, Part 2 - Page 3

 By Jacqueline Emigh
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Question 3. Is it better to block or to quarantine?

Some anti-spam products block rejected e-mails entirely, bouncing them back to the sender. An alternative strategy is known by a number of names, including "quarantining" and "grey listing." In essence, rejected e-mails are isolated in a special area, such as a "grey folder."

This approach helps offset the problem of false negatives by ensuring all remains mail accessible to either end users or administrators (or both). Blocking, though, also has its adherents.

Some administrators think it isn't fair to senders to quarantine e-mails, particularly in the case where legitimate senders think their mail has gotten to its destination -- when, in fact, it may never even be seen by anyone unless a user or administrator bothers to cull through the undelivered mail.

Question 4. Do you want to combine antivirus or Web filtering or both with anti-spam measures?

Vendors are converging on the anti-spam market from a number of directions. Antivirus and Web filtering vendors are among those joining the crowd. Anti-spam filtering, though, is a highly specific discipline, and products that attempt to offer many capabilities are not necessarily best-of-breed across all functions, asserts Grey.

On the other hand, multifunctional products can carry some big advantages, states Keldsen. Systems integration is less of a problem, and the reporting process is a lot smoother. "You don't have to deal with five different kinds of reports from five different vendors," he illustrated.

Illinois Tool Works is using MessageDirector for anti-virus as well as anti-spam filtering. Pilani said he's pleased with the results on both counts. "Administrative time has been greatly reduced."

So far, the product has been deployed among about 6,000 of the company's 50,000 end users. Pilani, though, expects other departments will chime in soon. "Word is starting to get around throughout the company."

MessageDirector will work with any standards-based mail system, so departments wishing to keep using Exchange or Notes for e-mail can still do so while also starting to get anti-spam and anti-virus protection through MessageDirector.

Stay Tuned

If you do decide to invest in a gateway product, your work won't end with selecting a vendor, according to Grey. The Gartner analyst suggests a multi-phase deployment. "Turn the software on in audit mode. Then, assess the kind of spam that's coming into the organization. Based on that assessment, start to develop policies."

Choosing products and hosted services for spam protection is no simple matter, and with the continual addition of new features, the process could get even tougher in the future. In the next edition of this series we'll take a closer look at where some of these products and services appear to be headed.

» See All Articles by Columnist Jacqueline Emigh

This article was originally published on Mar 17, 2003
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