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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SaaS Email Security Solutions


Stopping spam is an ongoing fight and businesses have tried a number of solutions. According to an  Ostermann Research report, 97% of all businesses had an anti-spam and/or anti-virus solution in place. Yet, they were on their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th solution.

In our last post, we discussed handling Email Security via an appliance. In this post we conclude the series by discussing SaaS solutions.

A SaaS solution is both a simple and elegant way to solve email security problems. An organization’s MX record (see our Common Terms page) is pointed to a SaaS’s data center for processing and the clean email is sent to the email server. There are several benefits to using a SaaS solution over either a software or appliance solution.

  • Separation of service – One less service to host on a server you have to purchase, power, cool, maintain and eventually repurchase. Many organizations find that this is reason enough for moving to a SaaS solution.
  • Greater access to technology – The anti-virus, anti-spam and content control tools available in a SaaS data center is greater than what is available in software or appliances currently available at affordable prices.
  • Software License Agreements – All email security solutions have bragging sheets listing their high scores on stopping viruses and spam, their up time history and low false positives. Only a SaaS can guarantee levels for these data points in your environment with your email. The rest give you the same caveat: “Your mileage may vary!”
  • Stop spurious email traffic – With an appliance or software, you must allow SMTP traffic on port 25 traffic from everywhere to allow all incoming email traffic. Many spammers look for an open port 25 on firewalls and bypass the server indicated as the correct destination by the MX record.  Or, they attempt to use it to relay messages to others. By setting your MX record to a SaaS data center and all other port 25 traffic is stopped by your firewall, only email directed to your MX record will come through.
  • Increased security – A SaaS solution can provide TLS encryption between the data center and your email server whether or not the sender’s server sends via TLS encryption. Since the appliance at the LAN perimeter or the software running on an email server receives email as it is sent, TLS may be in place or not.

A client of ours purchased an appliance to clear spam for themselves an about 200 users in various businesses they support. The system specifications was OK’ed by the appliance manufacturer as adequate to the job. Our client evaluated the system on a limited number of accounts before purchase. Within the 1st six months of operation, the system got so flooded with spam that it became unusable. Now our client had unhappy customers and 2 years left on an equipment lease.

As a test, we moved one of their 10-user client account on to a SaaS solution. At the end of  only 10 days, the SaaS solution had stopped 2.6 million spam messages. Our client has since moved over 260 email accounts to the SaaS solution and will be taking the appliance out of service.

SaaS email security is the best available way to stop spam and virus borne email from reaching your email server.  That’s a bold statement. But, as we say, “Make us prove it on your system!” Call for a demonstration or evaluation. You have nothing to lose but your spam.

Posted on : Sep 30 2008
Tags: , ,
Posted under Email, Email security, Outsourcing, SaaS, Security |


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