How to Effectively Use an Email Spam Filter Service

Email is a must-have channel of communication for today’s business teams. While you and your customers might augment your productivity tech stack with instant messaging apps or other workflow tools, emails have been—and will continue to be—the bread and butter of enterprise communications.

It’s worth noting that email is also a uniquely vulnerable form of doing work. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report from 2019, 94% of malware is delivered via email. With more than 300 billion emails projected to hit our inboxes in 2020, there’s a good chance you and your customers will need to be on your guard when it comes to the emails you allow into your IT environment.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Each employee receives and sends dozens of emails daily. Can you really expect your administrators to sort through every one of them to ensure they’re legitimate and malware-free? Of course not. But that’s where enterprise-grade email security solutions come in. With the right email spam filter service, you can protect your customers from the bulk of email-borne threats without slowing down their normal operations or bogging down your technicians.

Whatever email monitoring service you invest in for your managed services provider (MSP) business, you should understand the ins and outs of these tools. In an ideal world, your email spam filter service should create less work for you and your customers—not more. Accordingly, take the time to evaluate how email spam filters work and what functionalities you need the most so you can invest in the option that works best for your specific business needs.

What does an email spam filter service do?

Email spam filtering may do more than you think. While it acts as a sorter for incoming emails—ensuring only legitimate and safe communications make it into employee inboxes—the right email monitoring software should have more up its sleeve. For example, email spam filtering services should also filter outgoing mail, include email continuity, and pair with email archiving platforms to help prevent customer data loss.

For inbound email, spam filtering services match incoming messages against records of known threats. Cutting-edge platforms will constantly update these records based on industry best practices, as well as their interactions with evolving threats across the ecosystem of inboxes they manage. Additionally, they use real-time, pattern-based threat recognition to spot and neutralize attack vectors cybercriminals use to launch social engineering offensives and infect computers with malware.

For outbound email, spam filtering services ensure that your servers’ outgoing communications are legitimate and conform to company regulations. This kind of filtering monitors outbound emails to track whether hackers are using your IT infrastructure to send bulk spam emails under your name. By catching such emails before they’re sent out, you can ensure that you and your customers’ domains don’t end up on IP blacklists, which might damage your online reputation and credibility.

What Email Filtering Rules Can You Set?

Effective email security relies on a wide range of adjustable filters and customizable strategies, rather than a single silver bullet. By tailoring filters on your preferred email security platform to meet your needs, you can make sure that your email monitoring tools protect you and your customers in ways that actually suit your business.

For instance, it’s possible to set up filters based on existing permissions granted to certain users. The most sophisticated tools can map user privileges onto email filtering, which can be critical when adjusting for a given team’s workflows.

These rolling permissions can also be tailored to specific addresses. While blacklisting allows you to wholesale block emails from and to a particular source, whitelisting enables you to permanently approve emails from and to another source. In addition to filtering based on what type of digital content is being sent or received, these custom filters grant experienced users the opportunity to enforce a bespoke email spam filtering policy.

Finally, advanced email monitoring tools should deploy a trifecta of proven email security protocols: Sender Policy Framework (SPF), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC). SPF helps ensure that the sender of incoming mail actually is who they claim to be; DKIM uses public and private keys to encrypt messages and establish trust between the sender and recipient; and DMARC advises users on what to do if incoming emails are suspect, in addition to incorporating helpful reporting functionalities.

How can email filtering support your MSP business?

The right email spam filter should make your MSP business run more smoothly—not create more work for your technicians. Once you and your team set up filters to suit specific customer needs, you should be able to set it and forget it. A good spam filter helps you spend valuable time on big picture strategic projects rather than just manually sorting through inboxes for improperly quarantined spam emails—or even worse, picking up the pieces after a faulty platform lets in a rogue email that infects your network with malware.

SolarWinds® Mail Assure is a cloud-based email security tool designed to keep you and your customers safe from email-borne threats. With collective threat intelligence and reliable email continuity solutions, you can safeguard critical IT infrastructure without spending your time hunting down rogue emails. From its Intelligent Protection & Filtering Engine to its long-term email archiving services, Mail Assure leverages the latest in email security to protect users from spam, viruses, malware, phishing attacks, and much more.

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