Spam. We're all too familiar with the persistent threat that it poses to our productivity. We're also aware of the cost of that lost productivity. You're also aware that you can't rely on users to handle spam at their desktops. You realize that you can't control spam at its source nor at its intended destination. But, there's a location that you do have control over: the server. You need a server-based solution to block spam before it reaches your users so that spammers reap a very low return on their investments.
This list of 10 server-based antispam products will help you deter spam before users see it and have the chance to fall for a phishing scheme or to wreak havoc on their systems. The items are in no particular order.
Any mention of security products will always include Kaspersky in the list--the world's authority on all things to do with Internet security. Its Anti-Spam 3.0 product uses several different methods of detecting and removing spam from your email server. It uses a combination of list-based filtering, rules-based filtering, signature filtering and linguistic heuristics to rid your company of invasive email before it reaches the user's inbox. Kaspersky's Anti-Virus 3.0 is also light on your wallet by its use of Linux and open source mail services to perform its functions. Its hardware requirements are very low, too. You can deploy their solution on what would be a "useless" system by today's standards: Intel Pentium III 500 MHz processor or higher (Intel Pentium IV 2.4 GHz recommended) and at least 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended).
Astaro is another major business security force. Perhaps you've heard of their hardware, software, and virtual security appliances. Astaro products use an intelligent update system through a global pattern and fingerprinting technology. This technology allows the Astaro appliance to identify and block spam as it's released from its source so that new spam techniques never have the opportunity to enter your inbox.
Perhaps the most famous name in the Internet security field is Symantec. Symantec offers a Premium AntiSpam add-on subscription service for its Mail Security product. Symantec supports Microsoft Exchange, SMTP mail services and IBM's Domino. Its global service boasts a 99-percent effectiveness rate and continuous automatic updates. Symantec's AntiSpam add-on requires no new software installation. It's as easy as entering a license key to your current Mail Security software. No reboot or reconfiguration required. You can also have confidence that genuine email will be delivered to your inbox because of the false-positive prevention algorithms with an accuracy of 99.9999 percent.
Hexamail does one thing: Email security. Its Guard product uses a multilayered approach to spam detection, filtering and protection. In addition to spam, its solution prevents viruses, malware and phishing routines. Hexamail Guard is a cross-platform solution (Windows and Linux), and it covers any mail server that you own. Hexamail products scale from single server installations to Enterprise-level solutions.
If you've never heard of Isode, you should look at its list of technology partners. Among the Internet Messaging Partners, you'll find such recognizable names as Red Hat, Oracle, Zion Software and Fine Point Technologies. Isode is not a security company but a company that provides an entire suite of Internet Messaging products, one of which is M-Switch Anti-Spam. It's an add-on product to its M-Switch SMTP product. Isode also provides extensive tools for configuration management and operational management.
Other than having a cool name (Declude--Opposite of Include(?)), Declude offers their Interceptor anti-spam solution. The server sits between the Internet and your mail server and filters email prior to it landing on the mail server. Like other solutions, Declude uses a multifaceted approach to detecting and banning suspicious email messages. Declude offers remote installation services on any Windows or Linux-based system. Interceptor is also fully scalable and supports clustered installations.
7. Solid Oak Software
The Alligate product is a Windows-based SMTP gateway server built to eliminate unwanted email messages before they enter your network. By dedicating a server to this gateway product, you can filter email with extreme efficiency and very high accuracy. This pre-filtering returns life to your email server by offloading as much as 98 percent of email traffic to the dedicated anti-spam system. In addition to standard list filtering, Alligate employs its proprietary MXRate Sender Reputation Database to verify sender origin and legitimacy.
8. Modest Software
At $24.95 USD, JSpamFilter is the lowest cost Enterprise-level spam filter available commercially. JSpamFilter, written in Java, is platform and OS-agnostic. You can install it on the mail server or on a dedicated gateway server. JSpamFilter is easy to use and highly configurable.
The Proxmox Mail Gateway is an advanced email security system based mostly on open source software. The Mail Gateway can run as a virtual appliance or on a physical system. Using its easy, web-based management, your new mail gateway solution could be functional in less than one hour after installation. Proxmox offers an online demo so that you can check out its features and simplicity before you buy a license.
MailGate is an integrated email security and Enterprise email management system. It covers inbound threats from spam, viruses and other forms of email-bound malware. On the outbound side, MailGate offers data loss prevention (DLP) with content filtering and Digital Rights Management. MailGate is a security-hardened, Linux-based hardware or virtual appliance.
Ken Hess is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of open source topics including Linux, databases, and virtualization. He is also the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, which was published in October 2009. You may reach him through his web site at http://www.kenhess.com.