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anti-spam and network bandwidth

sciinfo asked
Last Modified: 2010-04-18
I am running exchange and using symantec brightmail as anti-spam gateway server. Because of the hudge number of spams blocked by brightmail we are thinking to host all mail boxes externaly within an ISP. The point is to create pop connector to grap emails without any spams so we can save bandwidth on our network. I need advise as i am not sure this is the right choice.

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Get a service like this http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/services/default.mspx

Someone else receives your mail, filters it - takes the hit on the bandwidth and processing - then delivers it clean to you.

You benefit in many ways:

1) Better anti spam and AV email facilities than you can afford yourself
2)Higher availability for receiving email EHS promises 5 nines... your server will be the rate limiting factor.
3)The provider will usually 'hold' your email if your server is offline and trickle it back when it comes back.
4)No MX points to you so you can usually close port 25 to only the filtering provider, better permiter security.

Cost is not much for what you get - £5 per user a month with EHS is the standardish rate

Donnie4572IT Manager

This is not a bad plan and does have some advantages.

I would not do it for two reasons:

1.) Security. To point my MX record to an external company would mean I trust that company with my "business secrets"

2.) Administration. I do not like the idea of calling outside tech support to troubleshoot mail flow problems. These type issues are complex enough without throwing in an added hop.

1) your email is not secure anyway. It changes many hands in plain text across the internet... unless you have encrypted links with all your customers.

MS EHS employee security is top notch. Email it is sorted by software... manual intervention is rarely required.

2) Apart from the initial set up the ongoing admin is minimal. I have set up several clients with this including our own company. Troubleshooting mail flow is a bit more involved admitedly... but i have only had to call them a few times and spoken with knowledgable people each time with quick resolution.
Donnie4572IT Manager

>"your email is not secure anyway"<
There is a huge difference in mail flow accross the internet and being delivered to someones basement for them to browse through for months to come. The truth is when mail is delivered to any mail server the admin of that mailserver owns that mail and is there for his viewing.

>"MS EHS employee security is top notch"<
No matter how you add it up the company that has your MX record has your mail. This should be a business decision made by CEO because when vital company information is stolen it will be impossible to prove which mail server and which copy of the email was compromised.

Yes you have to trust MS as the man in the middle. But you already trust alot:

You trust your ISP - and the ISP of each customer you communicate with.
You trust that your email is not intercepted in transit.
You trust the admin of every mail server.

I did attend a MS event specifically regarding the employee aspect of security, the assurances were very good. At the end of the day it depends if it is one trust too far in the food chain in your opinion.

There is no arguing this should be a top level decision.
Donnie4572IT Manager

Probably 60% - 70% (at least 50%) of mail coming in my network is spam and I would like nothing more than to off-load that to someone else.

again...there is a huge difference between a hacker that "sniffs" email as it traverses accross the internet weather it be at the ISP or otherwise and pointing you MX to an external company.

As for the mail admin, well he is usually (and in my opinion should always be) an employee of the company.

With that said, I think MS would be my choice. I don't know of a more reputable company to trust with my mail flow.

Also, I would not think of proceeding with this without a written contract that bound the external company to my confidentiality policies.

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thank you very much for everyone`s opinion. It is really intrestring, since my concern is the bandwidth i will host my emails outside but i will think with whome i shoud go. So far IBM provide good match between external company contract  and confidentiality policies.

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