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Improve the Spam Filter for Microsoft Office 365

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Improve the Spam Filter for Microsoft Office 365

There are several options for improving the spam filter for Office 365 to block more spam email and prevent email-borne threats from reaching the inboxes of your end users.

If you are unhappy with the current performance of Office 365, it may be possible to alter the Office 365 spam filtering parameters or make changes to the connection filtering settings. However, if spam email volume is not significantly reduced it may be necessary to set up transport rules.

Standard Office 365 settings may not be sufficiently aggressive. By setting transport rules it is possible to alter Spam Confidence Levels (SCLs) and set up different protocols to manage Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), and the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). By adding these new protocols, you should be able to configure the spam filter for Office 365 to block spam email more aggressively.

It is possible to improve spam filtering for Office 365 by tweaking the settings, although email administrators in large organizations are likely to find creating block lists and safe lists – and keeping those lists up to date – an incredibly time-consuming task.

Fortunately, there is an alternative to tweaking the spam filter for Office 365, and that is to install a third-party spam filtering solution to augment spam filtering for Office 365. A third-party solution is a better choice than using Microsoft’s Exchange Online Protection (EOP) and Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), which are available to Office 365 users.

Improve the spam filter for Office 365 with SpamTitan

Improving the Spam Filter for Office 365 with a Third Party Anti-Spam Solution

At first glance, there are a number of similarities between Microsoft’s ATP/EOP anti-spam mechanisms and those used by third party email filtering solution providers but, crucially, there are some important differences.

Using Microsoft’s EOP as a spam filter for Office 365 will allow administrators to conduct real-time scans for spam email against Global Blackhole Lists: An important mechanism for preventing the delivery of spam emails to end users. However, some third-party antispam solutions also use greylisting to check the authenticity of incoming email messages.

This additional control greatly improves detection rates for spam email. Greylisting involves sending a message back to the mail server used to deliver messages along with a request to resend the email. Genuine emails are usually resent quickly, but email servers used by spammers are often too busy to respond to these messages promptly. The delay in resending emails is a good indicator that the message is spam.

This additional check is important for preventing new spam email campaigns from being delivered to end users. EOP will only quarantine spam emails that have been added to Global Blackhole Lists. There is a time lag between a new campaign being launched and the emails being added to Blackhole lists. During that time, organizations are vulnerable.

Cost, Usability, and Cloud Deployment Options

Another problem for many organizations, especially Managed Service Providers (MSPs), is the lack of flexibility with the EOP spam filter for Office 365. Microsoft will only provide this additional spam filtering option in its own cloud environment.

MSPs wishing to offer their clients an augmented spam filter for Office 365 often prefer to use a solution that can be hosted in a private cloud or within their own infrastructure. Organizations may prefer to have the option of using an on-premise anti-spam solution to improve the spam filter for Office 365. Third party antispam solution providers can offer a range of deployment options to suit each individual client.

Ease of use is another major consideration when choosing a spam filter for Office 365, especially for small to medium-sized organizations with limited resources. Using a ‘plug and play’ third-party antispam solution allows IT staff to concentrate on other important tasks rather than spend time configuring and maintaining email spam lists and updating software.

Even though Microsoft’s options for augmenting the spam filtering for Office 365 lack the ability to detect the latest email spam variants and are not as flexible as third-party antispam solutions, they are more expensive. Organizations choosing a third-party antispam solution typically enjoy a 20% to 25% cost saving compared to ATP and EOP.

Augmenting the Spam Filter for Office 365 with SpamTitan

TItanHQ has been providing web and email security solutions for enterprises since 1999. During that time, the company has helped more than 5,000 organizations improve their security posture and reduce spam email volume.

TitanHQ’s antispam solution - SpamTitan - has been independently tested and shown to block 99.97% of spam email with false positive spam identification of just 0.03%.

Instead of one antivirus engine, SpamTitan uses two. This increases the rate of malware detection to better protect customers from an ever-increasing range of email-borne threats.

SpamTitan features a number of additional controls to keep customers protected, including an email continuity service to ensure that spam email is still blocked during a server outage. Further, SpamTitan offers better protection from email threats and greater spam detection rates than ATP and EOP.

In order to meet the needs of the broadest range of organizations, SpamTitan can be deployed as a virtual appliance or as a cloud-based solution.

SpamTitan Gateway is a powerful anti-spam solution that sits between an organization’s firewall and its mail server. No additional hardware needs to be purchased as the solution can be installed as a virtual appliance.

SpamTitan Cloud is a cloud-based alternative to our gateway offering. The cloud-based option offers the maximum flexibility and is ideally suited for MSPs and large organizations. All that is required to start filtering email is for a small change to be made to the mail exchanger (MX) record.  There are no software updates required, virtually no management overhead, and SpamTitan Cloud can be supplied in white-label form for MSPs and resellers.

Free 30-Day SpamTitan Trial

We believe the best way to determine whether SpamTitan meets your company’s needs is to implement our solution and see the difference it makes. Before committing to purchasing a license, we invite you to take advantage of our free trial.

We will provide you with the opportunity to try SpamTitan Gateway or SpamTitan Cloud free of charge for a period of 30 days with no obligation to proceed at the end of the trial period.

If you have any questions about SpamTitan or you want to register for our free trial, contact our Sales Team today. We will be happy to answers your questions about improving the spam Filter for Office 365 and will give you instructions on how to start your free trial and configure SpamTitan to suit your organization’s needs.

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