GeneralReviewsTech Notes

Hosted anti-spam services

This month we’ll be looking at various hosted anti-spam solutions.  Hosted solutions differ from on-site solutions in that there is no need to install or update software on either your server or your desktops.  This can minimize administration as well as bandwidth usage as only valid email will reach your network.

Symantec MessageLabs Hosted anti-spam:  Symantec does not provide pricing for this solution, so it is difficult to determine the value relative to the offering or to the other solutions. They do claim “an industry-leading SLA that covers 100% protection against known and unknown viruses and 99% spam capture.”    The Symantec MessageLabs solution appears to go well beyond simple anti-spam, providing  a complete content management and email continuity service.  If anti-spam is all you’re after, this looks like it would overkill.

Purity Network Email Protection Services: Purity is not a well known name in the antivirus/antispam marketplace,  but they’ve got a pretty compelling offering.  The cost is  only US$10.95/year/mailbox, which is a very reasonable price.  For domains with more than 10 mailboxes, a per domain price of US$9.95 per month is the way to go.  The domain service covers up to 30,000 emails per month for an unlimited number of users.  If even more protection is required, the server option for $49.95 per month covers an unlimited number of domains on one server and up to 750,000 emails per month. Purity has the most well defined SLA of all the solutions, offering a 99.9% uptime guarante

e, and a 24 hour service response guarantee, although no guarantee on accuracy.

Trend Micro Hosted Email Security:  This service is similar to the Purity offering, in that it provides hosted email security only. The cost is quite a bit higher than the Purity service, starting at $40 per user per year for a minimum of 5 users.  The price does go down if you purchase more users or a longer term.  Trend Micro also claims that their solution “Stops 99%+ of all spam and 100% of all email-based viruses—or you’re eligible for money back.”  Like Symantec, they don’t go into much detail about the “money back” portion.

Hosted Email solutions:  If there is no compelling reason to have your own in-house email solution (and for organizations of less than 50 users, we really don’t see a reason), a fully-hosted email solution is by far the simplest way to obtain (almost) spam-free and virus-free email.  All the hosted email solutions we deal with also provide antivirus/antispam solutions as part of their offering.  Even Shaw hosted email includes antispam, although Shaw implements it very poorly.  Shaw tends to delete as its default antispam solution, which can create major confusion for its users. The hosted Exchange solution we resell, Sherweb, uses Cloudmark, which is one of the best antispam solutions available.  Sherweb allows you to view and manage the quarantined email.

We also recommend Google Apps.  Google Apps Standard Edition uses their own antispam/antivirus engine and it appears to be adequate, although one does need to check the Spam folder regularly.  Google Apps Premium Edition allows the organization to use Postini email security as part of the solution, all as part of the default package. We wrote about Google Apps earlier this year and are currently in the process of migrating Claritech to Google Apps Premium Edition.

In conclusion, if you’re keen on maintaining your own in-house email solution, a hosted email security solution may be a reasonable first-step onto the cloud.  There are many solutions out there and they all offer similar methods of protecting your email.  Symantec takes it to the next level and protects all of your Internet communications.  If in-house email is not necessary, a hosted email solution will provide good protection and a very reasonable price, when you include the value of not having to manage your own email.  Please contact us if you’re interested in finding out about hosted Exchange, Google Apps or any of the other solutions mentioned in this post.

Dan Frederick

Dan Frederick

Dan Frederick, BSc Eng, MBA, is the president of Claritech Solutions. He's passionate about Data Protection and IT Security.

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