If you thought the spam problem was going away, think again. According to Securelist, “email traffic in Q1 2015 saw a considerable increase in the number of new domains that sent out spam,” and their numbers show that spam still makes up close to 60 percent of all email traffic. Companies who find themselves drowning in spam quickly realize how much it hurts their business. There is are costs associated from a loss of productivity as users pick through junk emails, there are legal issues associated with employees receiving offensive emails and of course there are security threats that come from malicious email messages. So how do you stop email spam in your company? By using the right technologies and by leveraging your users.
Trusting technical controls
No one can stop email spam without putting some type of technical control in place to spot illicit emails. However, not all technology is equally effective when it comes to identifying spam. Certain tools built to stop email spam rely on an algorithm that calculates a score. These tools start by looking for certain indicators in the email header and message such as keywords, misspellings, sender addresses and the number of messages sent. From the identified indicators, a score is assigned to the email and if that score goes beyond a threshold set by the mail administrator the message is flagged as spam.
This may seem like a practical way to stop email spam, but in reality it is an outdated technology. A quick search for “beat spam filters” will provide you with hundreds of lessons from email marketing professionals on how to best make sure their emails are delivered. Guess what? Spammers use the same techniques to beat these filters. Another problem with this method is that it increases the risk of false positives so legitimate emails are identified as spam and not delivered.
Instead of relying on outdated, ineffective methods to stop email spam look for tools that leverage the following technologies known to prevent spam:
- SMTP layer challenge filtering
- Inbound and outbound SPF
- Inbound DKIM filtering
- Outbound DKIM signing
- DMARC management
- Challenge/response verification
Putting the end user into play
While technical controls will have the ability to filter out a large amount of spam, there are always some messages that are going to slip through. In order to effectively stop email spam, your technical controls need to also leverage the end user’s ability to identify illicit emails as well.
Tools that allow users to whitelist and blacklist senders not only casts a wider net to help stop spam from being delivered; but it also ensures that legitimate emails are not incorrectly identified as spam. Senders on that user’s whitelist who are trusted by the user, will always have their emails delivered. Relying on the end user also helps the spam filter better learn what techniques and methods the spammers are using to sneak past their defenses. By combining personal quarantines along with real-time message scanning your spam filtering tool can analyze how a malicious message made its way to a user’s inbox.
Spammers continually change their methods and techniques to beat technologies that aren’t flexible. To effectively stop email spam, you have to look for the tools that adapt to the different means that criminals use both today and down the road.
To see how Sendio’s Opt-Inbox can help your business stop email spam, fill out this form to schedule a demo.