Many businesses are now transitioning to the cloud and one of the first services to be moved is usually email. With email already in the cloud, it makes perfect sense for cloud spam filtering services to be used to protect against email threats such as phishing and malware.
Traditionally, spam filtering has been performed on premises, either through a dedicated spam filtering appliance or a virtual appliance – A software solution housed on a virtual machine on existing hardware. Cloud spam filtering – or spam filtering-as-a-service – sees all filtering take place in the cloud. This provides several advantages over more traditional spam filtering options.
How Does Cloud Spam Filtering Work?
When an email is sent to a business email account it passes from the sender’s mail server to the recipient’s mail server. Traditional spam filters sit between the firewall and the mail server, through which all emails pass. If certain checks are passed, the message is delivered to the appropriate inbox.
Cloud spam filtering is the same, except that the filtering takes place on the service provider’s servers. The email is analyzed based on rules defined by the administrator, and if the email passes all checks it is sent on to your mail server, whether that is on-premises or in the cloud.
Implementing the email filtering service could not be simpler. You just need to redirect your mail exchange (MX) record to your spam filter service provider. You can then create rules and apply your filtering settings through a web-based interface, which can be accessed from any internet-enabled device. With a cloud-based spam filter service there is no need for any software on individual machines.
Through the web-based portal, administrators can monitor mail server activity in real time, set spam thresholds (permissive to aggressive), whitelist senders, and run and schedule reports. If you have third-party service providers to manage your email, they can be granted access to your web-portal for troubleshooting and fixing any email issues.
With cloud spam filtering, there is no loss of control. Just the same as with on-premises solutions, administrators retain full control and can apply global filtering controls, as well as anti-spam controls at the location, department, user group, or individual level.
Advantages of Cloud-Based Spam Filtering
As with moving data and infrastructure to the cloud, there are several benefits to a hosted spam filtering solution. Since cloud spam filtering is provided as a service, there are no software upgrades or patching to worry about. This is all handled by the service provider. Plus, since all filtering takes place in the service provider’s cloud, there are no issues with CPU resources and no limits on the volume of emails that can be processed. There is considerably redundancy so there are no latency issues. Without any on-premises hardware or software, the maintenance overhead is minimal, which is great news for busy IT professionals. This also makes cloud-based email filtering more cost effective than on-premises solutions.
In contrast to on-premises appliances, a cloud spam filter service is infinitely scalable. When greater capacity is needed, the service provider can be contacted, and it can be instantly arranged. With TitanHQ, scaling down is also not a problem should capacity ever need to be reduced.
Why You Need a Spam Filtering Service for Office 365
A common compliant about Office 365 email is the email spam filter is not particularly effective at blocking phishing emails and malware. Independent tests have shown Microsoft’s basic level of spam filtering – Exchange Online Protection (EOP) – blocks 100% of known malware threats, but it is much less effective at blocking zero-day malware. These never-before-seen malware variants are often not detected as malicious and are delivered to inboxes. The same is true of phishing emails. One independent test showed 25% of phishing emails were not detected by EOP.
All it takes is for one employee to respond to a phishing email for a data breach to occur, so it is vital that the vast majority of email threats are blocked. To provide the extra level of protection to ensure these emails are not delivered, a cloud spam filtering service should be layered on top of Microsoft’s EOP.
Important Features of a Spam Filtering Service
Finding the right spam filtering service for your business can be a challenge. There are many spam filtering service providers and solutions can vary considerably in terms of cost and features. The most expensive spam filtering service is not necessarily the best option for your business, and it will not necessarily provide the greatest level of protection.
There are some important features to look for in a cloud-based spam filtering service which will ensure you are well protected against email threats such as phishing, malware, and ransomware.
Greylisting – Greylisting is an important feature that helps to identify new sources of spam. Spammers frequently change their IP addresses and ditch them when they are added to blacklists. Greylisting identifies these new sources of spam. Greylisting involves initially rejecting a message and requesting it be resent. Mail servers used for spamming usually do not respond to these requests.
Sandboxing – A spam filtering service will include one or more anti-virus engines to detect malware threats, but these are signature based, so they are only effective at detecting and blocking known malware. Sandboxing is used to detect zero-day (new) malware threats. When email attachments pass the AV engine scans, they are sent to the sandbox for deep analysis.
Outbound scanning – Outbound scanning is an important feature in a spam filtering service. By scanning outbound messages, you can detect any internal sources of spam or malicious emails which could potentially damage your business's IP reputation and see your IP addresses added to a blacklist, preventing the delivery of emails. Also look for a spam filter service that allows data tagging. This will allow you to block attempts to send certain types of data externally via email to protect against data theft.
SpamTitan – the Number One Email Filtering Solution for SMBs and MSPs
SpamTitan is the leading cloud-based email security solution used by managed service providers to protect their SMB clients and it is a hugely popular choice with SMB users, as evidenced by positive feedback across the leading business software review sites such as Gartner Peer Insights, G2 Crowd, and Capterra.
SpamTitan incorporates advanced spam, phishing, and malware detection methods that are lacking in Office 365. These include advanced heuristics, Bayesian analysis, machine learning, greylisting, malicious link protection with URIBL and SURBL filters, sandboxing, and leading threat intelligence. These additional features provide enhanced protection against sophisticated phishing threats, BEC attacks, email impersonation, and zero-day threats.
Independent testing has confirmed SpamTitan blocks in excess of 99.97% of spam emails, with a low false positive rate of 0.03%. SpamTitan blocks 100% of known malware through dual anti-virus engines, and advanced content analysis tools and sandboxing ensures that SpamTitan is effective at blocking zero-day malware threats that would otherwise be delivered to inboxes.
SpamTitan is easy to implement spam filter service that is easy to use and very competitively priced. TitanHQ operates a fully transparent pricing policy. Pay the standard charge and you get all features of the solution with no hidden extras. SpamTitan customers also benefit from industry-leading customer support, so if any issues are experienced, help is always at hand.
If you want to improve your email security defenses, cloud-based spam filtering is the logical choice. If you want to become a security titan and block more advanced and persistent email threats, speak to TitanHQ today about SpamTitan.