How to Select Anti-Spam Tools

Spam is not just annoying. Spam messages can contain scripts that can load viruses or ransomware onto your system, and they can also harvest personal information. According to email security specialist Mimecast, 90% of cyberattacks start with email. Other companies with experience in IT security, such as Proofpoint, Ironscales and Microsoft, can also supply email security software. You need an anti-spam tool for your business that works seamlessly with your existing email system and catches unwanted messages as they come in.

 

A managed IT services provider with data security management expertise can help you choose the best tool for email protection. There are many technical considerations and anti-spam tool features to evaluate before making a choice. Be sure to get experienced help to ensure you are adequately protected.

Top Anti-Spam Tool Characteristics to Consider Before Making a Choice

Ease of Integration

A key feature for an anti-spam tool is the ease with which you can integrate the tool into your existing email system. Some tools require you to change DNS settings and re-route your emails through their servers. This introduces another point of potential failure if their server goes down. Others, like Ironscales, can integrate seamlessly with Microsoft and Google email servers, monitoring your emails without you having to make major changes.

If the tool requires you to make major changes, you need to decide whether you can handle those changes in-house, or you need to engage the services of an IT services provider. All things being equal, if there is a tool that can also satisfy all your other requirements, it would be preferable to choose a tool that is easier to integrate.

Industry Compliance Support

Another consideration is whether the tool supports special industry regulatory requirements. Financial services companies such as RIA’s (Registered Investment Advisors), banks and stock brokers must comply with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), which requires them to preserve their records, including emails, for a certain length of time.    Health services providers have to satisfy HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) with regard to privacy and security of data. Anti-spam tools often have additional security features that let you program your own rules for dealing with emails, but at the very least, the tools should not interfere with rules you have already put into place.

Anti-Phishing Support

Some tools may also support anti-phishing measures, however they need to be monitored. This is because with all anti-spam tools, but especially with anti-phishing, you need to make sure that legitimate emails are not targeted and mis-identified as being harmful. Tools which use AI (artificial intelligence) may do a better job because they are able to “learn” how to filter the right emails from your system over time.

Bundling with Software Platform

In some cases, the email security tool is included with a software platform. It may require a certain subscription level. This can give you a more seamless solution. For example, Microsoft Defender is included with certain Business configurations of Microsoft 365.

Quick Comparison of Common Anti-Spam and Email Security Providers

While basic anti-spam filtering is not complicated, additional features such as anti-phishing, classification of emails, and help with compliance can take many forms. Some providers are focused on email threats, while for others email is just one of many data security management concerns that they address. You have to decide whether you want just email protection or possibly other related security features as well. Below are four well-known email security providers with details of their approach to anti-spam tools.

 

Proofpoint Mimecast Ironscales Microsoft Defender
DNS/Server configuration changes REQUIRED? Yes Yes No

 

Integrates seamlessly with BOTH Microsoft Online & Google Workspace

No

 

Integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Exchange Online

Supports email classification and compliance with industry regulations?

 

Yes Yes No Yes

 

Optional premium program to meet regulatory compliance requirements

Industry Compliance Support Yes

 

FINRA, SEC, IIROC

Yes No Yes
Anti-phishing support Yes

 

Supports phishing email reporting and phishing alarm

No Yes

 

Supports anti-phishing campaign management and end user training)

No
Included with office software package No No No  

Yes

 Included with Microsoft 365 Business plans)

AI support No No

 

Yes

No

Bottom Line

Anti-spam tools and related security issues can be difficult to evaluate, and it’s challenging to select the best one for your business. Business IT services, Bay Area provider GSDSolutions can help you make the right choice by leveraging their knowledge of the IT industry, current threats, and anti-spam tool providers. Give us a call to get help selecting the right security tools to ensure your business is well-protected from email and other threats.

 

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