In an effort to keep employees engaged on work tasks instead of email handling, you've implemented a spam filter that's supposed to have a high degree of efficiency when it comes to keeping out unwanted messages.
So, why are spam messages still getting through? And are your employees singing the praises of the email system, or are they still struggling with almost 100 non-essential emails every day? Most likely, despite efforts that include hardware and software controls, your users are still dealing with email overload. Here are some reasons why you continue to be deluged, even with a spam filter in place:
Improper server classifications
Spam filters work through a complex series of intelligent algorithms that classify messages based on text and sender. If the server that's delivering the mail is a known spam bot, then the filter will stop the message from getting through. Although that's helpful, some senders have found ways to circumvent these controls, and send their messages through legitimate servers that can trick the filters, resulting in full employee email boxes. Often, spammers change their server settings numerous times, so even if you mark them as unwanted after one email, you could continue to receive their messages indefinitely. Even email ninjas can be challenged if the server classification settings aren't good enough to stop unwanted email.
Ineffective content sorting
Even with spam filters that do have adequate classification hierarchies, improper sorting can still occur, which forces you and other company employees to get unwanted email. Most spam checkers don't have sender verification systems, allowing business users to create their own safe email communities. This can eliminate spam, bulk and malicious mail, and ensure that all subsequent emails — after the recipient has verified them — will be delivered unimpeded. With better sorting capability, employees will be more confident and definitely less overloaded.
Without sender verification, you may be at the mercy of aggressive spam filter rules that block emails you should have received. The incidence of these "false positives" can be high, since spam companies are always trying to increase their block rates. But what happens if your employees never see emails sent by clients, talented job prospects or potential partners? Your spam filter becomes clogged full of lost opportunities, not just junk mail.
Vendor security issues
Spam isn't just a nuisance; it can be a security threat. Whether a spammer is making a phishing attempt on your employees, or trying to embed malicious software in the system, it can be easier to miss these dangerous strategies in the midst of email overload — and an ineffective spam filter certainly doesn't help the situation.
Another complication can arise when vulnerabilities are created through your vendors, who may have access to your critical servers. The way that vendors send messages or route information through your system can create problems with your spam filters and firewalls, and expose you to security risks.
In general, it seems as if spam filters should be advanced enough to slow your company's email to a manageable stream of relevant messages. But if you're still dealing with email overload and seeing full inboxes, then it's time to switch tactics and enjoy employee productivity without the risk of overload.