Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Lazy Users Guide to Hosted Email Security

Okay, so I'll admit it's a bit of a provocative title - don't you think? In fact, I explicitly chose the word "lazy" since we're all a little bit guilty when it comes to understanding the different technical things that make our e-mail system work. This can apply whether you're an e-mail junkie, or if you are a newbie in this field. And after all, why should we have to bear the extra burden of keeping our e-mail system safe and secure when solutions exist for minimizing this burden?

As a regular user, we will often decide to use a cloud-based e-mail system so that we don't have to worry about the technical implementation, right? We don't want to worry about the latest security update that need to be applied to our servers, nor should we have to worry about those worms and viruses that are spreading like wild fire on the internet: we want to go with a cloud-based solution provider that we think is trustworthy enough to manage it for us. So here's the reason behind the "lazy user's guide".

Indeed, in order to be confident enough so as to play it the "lazy" way, we should have done our homework first when choosing our cloud-based e-mail service provider. We all want life to be simple, correct? We all just want to be able to rely on something we can trust - so here are the things you should check while doing your homework.

Does the cloud e-mail provider provide an antivirus system?

Viruses are everywhere, and e-mail is one of the biggest vectors used to spread them. We all receive business or work e-mails, chain letters from our friends, mailing-lists subscriptions and all kind of e-mails from known and unknown senders. Techniques used by virus makers are improving everyday and there's not one day on earth where there's not a new virus (or its variant) that is spreading over the internet. Cloud based e-mail providers just can't expect their users to be aware of the latest news on the virus industry, then have them apply the required patches - that's the job of the cloud provider's antivirus system and their technical teams.

Does the offer come with an anti-spam system?

Spam - ah spam, we've all received at least one of them. What amazes me with spammers is that they're so creative that they always find a way for circumventing the anti-spam solutions that most e-mail providers put in place. It just blows my mind, especially when I know that very sharp anti-spam solution providers will even use artificial intelligence to learn the signatures of spammers - but yet, some spam still goes through. That's why, most e-mail systems (including cloud-based e-mail systems) include a feature that allows each e-mail user to tag e-mail as spam should it go through all the anti-spam features that have been setup. No one is 100% safe from spam since you can't always control who puts your e-mail address into a mailing list.

If there's one thing I want to emphasize for concluding this article, it's the fact that every cloud provider out there would claim that they have those features installed. So shop around, and go with the ones who have proven track records, experience in email security and who have been "certified" by serious third-party entities.

Cloud services such as hosted Exchange and hosted SharePoint are available from Giacom World Networks. For more information, visit

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