Welcome to SaaS thoughts

Whether you call it Software as a Service (SaaS), Managed Service Provider (MSP) or On-Demand Services, your organization uses the service running “in the cloud”. This blog will discuss these services, their benefits, drawbacks and operations. Are we biased? Yes. We believe that some services make sense for most organizations. Email security is one of those. However as Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, even this one.” Each Tuesday we will post information and questions about Software as a Service. Occasionally, we will have a "Guest Post" from either a consultant or vendor posting her/his thoughts on Managed Services generally as well as some degree of specificity based on her/his unique perspective. We encourage your insights, comments and feedback. Welcome.


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Software Email Security Solutions

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Ever since someone sent out the first “Free kittens!” email message, our inbox has been the target of messages senders think are more important than the recipient does. While that message is annoying and easily deleted, our inbox is the target of spammers. Why do they target your inbox? Money.

This post looks at the use of software solutions of stopping spam. Next week’s post will cover the anti-spam/virus appliance.

Many of the people who claim to hate spam are supporting the practice by buying products from spammers…. The survey found that 11% of users purchase products and services from spam e-mails, even though 9% of users have lost money to e-mail scammers! According to a new survey of nearly 800 end users, comprising 34% corporate business users and 66% consumers, by Radicati Group.

When queried as to why they were looking to change, the survey found the most commonly reported areas of discontent with their existing system. They were looking at new solutions because they felt their existing solution was:

  • Ineffective
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Time consuming to administer
  • Will not meet future needs

Software Solutions

Software running on an internal email server or on the desktop was the initial solution to the deluge of spam hitting business email servers. It is still in use in many organizations. The main problem with this solution (beyond administrative maintenance time) is that spam is choking the bandwidth. Unfiltered email occupies as much as 80% of a network’s bandwidth and spam often accounts for 90% of that email. Still, for the price of some software and annual anti-spam/virus update subscriptions, the business gets some relief in their inboxes.

Software Solutions vs. SaaS

When a business moves the anti-spam/virus solution to the Internet layer, they get an immediate benefit: regained bandwidth. “Unclogging the pipes” may benefit an organization beyond increased access time. Scheduled infrastructure upgrades may be able to be delayed or budgets reallocated to account for less throughput.

One of the major benefits of moving from a software to a SaaS solution, is the economy of scale the organization gets by engaging huge data centers to process email for a minimum annual subscription. In many cases, the subscription costs of a SaaS solution is comparable to that of the software solution.

Additionally, SaaS solutions offer ancillary services software solutions cannot hope to achieve for the same price point. These can include an end-user portal to allow self-managed quarantine, business continuity, email encryption, personal as well as compliance archiving.

A cautionary note here is that most SaaS solution manage only inbound and outbound messages. Intra-office email would be unaffected. If the organization wants internal email to be scanned, it can have the SaaS handle all email traffic.

Conclusion

While we do offer an excellent software email security solution, most of our clients are moving towards a SaaS solution. Even the smallest organization can afford to get the spam off of their network by engaging a SaaS solution today. If an organization is looking to move from a software solution, their selection process should include investigating a SaaS solution.

In the next post we will explore using an appliance as an anti-spam/virus solution.


Posted on : Sep 16 2008
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Posted under Email security, Managed Services, SaaS, Security |


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