Spam filtering has become one of the top IT concerns of small and medium sized businesses in the past few years. Dealing with email spam costs businesses in lost time, employee wages, and server space. According to Nucleus Research, American businesses lose more than $70 billion per year in worker productivity from email spam. Spam filtering systems can be found online and in office supply stores, but business owners need to educate themselves about the strengths and shortcomings of spam filtering programs. Purchasing an ineffective spam filtering program can be worse than having no protection at all.An effective spam filtering system uses a multi-tiered approach, much like the defenses surrounding a castle. Invaders must first attempt to cross the moat. Those who are able to accomplish that feat must then slip past the archers. A multi-tiered spam filtering system routes incoming emails through different filters. If one layer of protection isn’t certain that an email is spam, it will pass it along to the next filter layer.
One of the strongest and most sophisticated filters is the reputation filter. A reputation filter compares the email against a database of known senders and email hosts. An email will be scanned for content, for originating IP address, and for routing Multisender information. Those emails that are judged to be spam by the reputation filter are quarantined, while others are sent on to another layer of the spam filtering program.One of the dangers of cheap and ineffective spam filtering systems is the high rate of false positives. A false positive is a legitimate email quarantined or deleted as spam. Ferris Research calculates that the average cost for a user to find and retrieve a wanted email message that has been marked as spam is $3.50 per message. A strong multi-tiered spam filtering system reduces the incidences of false positives by examining the email through multiple filters. A competent system also “learns” from experience which types of emails are marked as spam by the user.Knowing how to choose an iron-clad spam filtering program is a business owner’s best weapon in the ongoing battle against spam.
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