Applying Military Tactics to War on Spam

Written by Carl E. Reid on August 12, 2008

Consider your email infrastructure as a position which must deflect daily spammer assaults. As a tactical network commander, you must consider 3 fronts:

1. Insuring an email server only focuses its resources on SMTP related transactions. Under the guise of saving money, it’s a mistake to load add-in spam software. Placing this server on the inside of the fire wall greatly improves performance. Although MS Exchange and Lotus Domino software comes with some spam fighting tools, their strong functional purpose is being in the email routing business. So the email server should be configured solely to perform I/O housekeeping processes related to email send and receive. This keeps the end user complaint noise down to a whisper.

2. Convince management that funding must be allocated for a “dedicated” transparent SMTP proxy server. Placed outside the firewall, this creates a buffer zone between spammers and the email server. 3rd party add-in spam software, like GFI MailEssentials, should be loaded on this server. It is dedicated to fighting full frontal incoming spam assaults. It also scans and delivers outgoing mail more efficiently to the Internet.

This is easy to sell to your boss, if you help your boss present the benefits to senior management.

  • Allows for server resource load balancing
  • Provides an insurance policy leveraging dedicated spam fighting software
  • Eliminates public visibility of email server to prevent hacking
  • Dedicated spam software has more robust updating features that keep up with newest spam tricks
  • Lower maintenance costs with 2 servers performing dedicated functions.

3. Educating the email user community. This is the weakest fortification that constantly needs reinforcing. Spammers thrive on a steady diet of ignorance, when people receive spam emails. Consider sending out weekly bulletins about new types of spam emails circulating. Reiterate that old statement about not opening emails from unknown senders.

Let me know, if you need help writing that proposal to senior management for purchasing the proxy server.

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