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What Are Email Spam Solutions?

What Are Email Spam Solutions?

Email spam is not just a headache in an inbox, it has a detrimental impact on productivity, security, and overall company performance. The average daily volume of spam is a staggering 282.9 billion messages. Within this haystack of spam lies the needle prick of phishing emails that can end up causing massive damage to a company, in the form of lost revenue, stolen credentials, and damaged reputation. To deal with the onslaught of spam, companies the world over are turning to spam filtering solutions to provide email protection.

 

The risk of unfiltered email

The most dangerous form of email spam is phishing. According to Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report (SIR), phishing is the number #1 way that malware, including ransomware, infects endpoints and networks. The report shows that over half of emails that land in an inbox are a result of phishing campaigns.

Unfiltered email results in a large amount of spam and phishing emails entering individual employee inboxes. Employees are drowning in spam emails and the company is under threat from phishing. Email spam solutions and email protection solutions are designed to prevent email spam and phishing messages from entering a user’s inbox.

The impact from unfiltered email is trifold:

 

Spam decreases employee productivity

Spam email in large numbers is a numbing experience: in July 2021, the average employee received over 81 emails per day. Mixed in this email onslaught are spam, phishing, and legitimate messages. 

These emails are often opened on mobile devices (37% opened on an Apple iPhone as of July 2021), the UI making it more difficult for an employee to spot a fake email. Employees may miss important emails; legitimate emails being lost in the noise of spam. Even a few minutes wading through spam emails adds up to lost productivity.

Email filters prevent spam noise by stopping spam emails from entering an employee's inbox.

 

Phishing emails increase cyber-security risk

In 2020, 74% of U.S. organizations were a victim of phishing. Spam is more than just annoying, they can contain dangerous routes to malware infection and/or credential theft. Employees inundated by spam must make fast decisions. 

Even the more security-aware employee can end up clicking on a phishing link without thinking. Automated clicking makes computing quicker and simpler, and the more intuitive it becomes the more automated our behavior is; in other words, human beings are conditioned to click on links.

Email spam filtering solutions break the chain to automated click behavior by removing the source, i.e., the spam email.

 

We recently held a webinar with Osterman Research demonstrating how to reduce the risk of phishing and ransomeware. Download the guide here.

Or watch the webinar here.

Osterman Research Webinar - Reduce Risk of Phishing and Ransomware

 

Spam emails cause financial losses

Spam emails result in serious financial losses for an organization. The data breaches that a phishing attack can lead to are, on average, $4.24 million according to a 2021 IBM study. Ransomware has increased by 40% in 2020, and often begins with a phishing email. Ransomware costs doubled in 2021 to, on average, $1.85 million per company.

The costs of a click on a malicious link all add up. Costs accrued by a data breach and ransomware damages, include damage to reputation, share price decline, system downtime, lost productivity, and data protection fines.

The $10 a head per year cost of a cloud-based email filtering solution, compares well to the cost of a data breach.

 

How do email protection solutions work?

An email filtering solution prevents malicious massages and general spam from landing in an employee's inbox, removing the threat at the source. Email spam filtering solutions are designed to automatically work out which incoming messages, detecting which are spam and which are legitimate messages. 

Some email spam filtering solutions also check outbound emails for spam and viruses to prevent the organization´s IP addresses from being blacklisted, causing productivity issues, and impacting reputation. Advanced spam filters, such as SpamTitan, also allow certain data types to be tagged, for example, Social Security number. In doing so, the spam filter prevents sensitive data from being leaked via email.

 

There are different types of email spam filters available that include:

  • Content or word filters: scan the content of an email for specific words that signal a spam email.
  • List filters: black or whitelist filters that stop/allow emails: the blacklist will stop emails from known IP addresses/domains, the whitelist will allow emails in from trusted sources.
  • Header filters: email spam filters that look at the header of an email and determine its legitimacy based on rules such as IP address.
  • Bayesian filters: creates rules that are built up over time as an employee sets an email as spam.
  • Heuristic filter: a filter that is set to react to specific rules applied to incoming emails. If a rule is triggered, the email is set to quarantine in a spam folder. Heuristic spam filters may use machine learning algorithms to identify spam based on set scores. If an email meets the score, it will be set as spam and blocked.

 

Some solutions provide email protection using a mix of Bayesian, machine learning, and heuristics.

 

How to evaluate an email spam solution

The most effective email filtering solution for your organization depends on how you typically use email. However, some checkbox items are shown below to keep you on the right track to finding the best spam filtering solution for your organization.

 

Some questions to ask during evaluation -- is the email spam filtering solution:

  • Easy to set up, simple to configure, and up and running in minutes?
  • Able to fully automate updates and end user spam management?
  • Two-way email protection, able to prevent outgoing messages from leaking sensitive data as well as block incoming spam email?
  • Easy to administer using a web interface, removing the need for client-based management software?
  • Designed to support the use of LDAP, Dynamic and aliases file recipient verification
  • Able to use SASL authentication (to apply robust security)?
  • Available in your local language?
  • A cloud service so requires no hardware
  • Operating system agnostic?
  • A no software solution?

 

How is SpamTitan Different?

SpamTitan doesn’t rely on a single filter type. Instead, this cloud-based service uses a multi-layered approach to identify spam at the email gateway. Machine learning algorithms are used as part of this multi-layered way to spot spam, thus ensuring that false positives are minimized.

The following tests are performed on each message:

  • Harvesting/dictionary attack protection: a well-used automated attack method that identifies legitimate email addresses in readiness for a spam campaign.
  • Collaborative spam fingerprint checks:  the TitanHQ community help to build a database of spam ‘fingerprints’ that are fed back into the spam filter to block spam messages
  • RBL tests (real-time blackhole list): checks for known spam IP addresses
  • SURBL tests: detects websites that are known to appear in spam emails
  • Bayesian analysis
  • Rule-based spam scoring
  • Allow and block list filters

 

Prevention is the best cure, so it is said. Email filtering solutions are the prevention that cures your organization of the onslaught of spam emails. However, you must deploy the best available email filtering solution so that your organization is protected. Having a multi-layered approach to email protection gives your organization the best chance against the insidious and evolving nature of email spam.

Looking for an email spam solution for your organization? Sign up for SpamTitan's Free 14-Day Trial.

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