What Is It?
Indispensable, Reliable, Easy To Use, Easy To Manage, Extremely Cost Effective, Commercial Grade Cloud Based Antispam solution. This is how I would describe AVG/Avast Cloudcare Antispam. Don’t get me wrong… this solution isn’t the only one out there and there are many very good antispam solutions. However, what makes this a great tool is it’s orientation to the mail server its filtering for. What I mean by that is this: the service sits between the receiving mail server and the internet (all other sending servers). This is a Managed Service that CISS offers. How much it is managed is really up to you, however there are some things that an admin does so that you don’t have to. It doesn’t matter that its not physically on the same network doing the filtering because DNS points all incoming messages to the service, and after filtering is done, the service sends messages directly to the receiving mail server. Simple, and clean. Especially when it comes to Microsoft Exchange Server, the fewer things that are installed directly with Exchange, the better I like it, and in my humble opinion, the better Exchange runs.
A Little Back-story
When I first start CISS in 2008 I was already a big fan of AVG. (It wasn’t so much that AVG was better than the other vendors’ products – well it was better than some – but it was the simplicity of use built around the product when it came to purchasing and deployment.) I had figured out that I could use the free package to clean out machines that were infected and already running another AV package from a competing vendor. Mind you, this was the free version of AVG I was doing this with. That impressed me so much that I got connected and became a reseller. As time went on I got a letter from AVG asking me if I was interested in moving my people to their new CloudCare platform. I had a look at it, liked what I saw and dove in.
Who Can Use It?
It is designed primarily for businesses to use to filter their email traffic. It’s not something that a consumer would normally use because it requires that there be a backend mail server that can be configured for the service to send filtered messages to and receive messages from. For instance, small and medium sized businesses that have their own in-house mail server can readily use this service and I would be more than happy to take you on as a client for this service. It is an excellent front end for any Exchange server, or Linux mail server. There have been instances where a client has been using a web site hosting service for their web site and email. In most of those situations Cloudcare Antispam can be used to filter messages.
How Does It Work
Once CloudCare Antispam is setup and the accounts created that will be filtering for mailboxes on your MTA (Mail Transport Agent – Exchange, Linux Sendmail, etc…) Email that would normally come directly to your mail server now goes first to the CloudCare filtering servers, and is examined and filtered.
- When a user is first setup in this system a welcome message is sent to the new users’ mailbox. In that message is a link that takes the user to the site and allows them to set their password and you must set your password before you can access your message quarantine. The username is always your email address. I should mention it’s good practice to check your message quarantine every few days. Neglecting this will result in, the quarantine getting full, possible false positives that are actually legitimate messages, and possibly the user left wondering why someone hasn’t gotten back to them. Additionally, you’ll receive a daily notification of messages quarantined: I set this to be sent out every day at 0600 (6am).
- Messages that pass muster are sent on to your server/service for distribution to the users’ mailboxes.
- Messages that are suspect end up in the message quarantine and await the users attention as to whether the message is legitimate or actually spam. If Spam, then you can block that address or sending domain; If legitimate you can release – or better – whitelist the sending address.
- Because Cloudcare Antispam services acts as a smart host for your email server, all outgoing messages also pass through this service. Email addresses on outgoing messages – the To field – are automatically put on your whitelist.
- Upon successfully logging into the Antispam system you’ll see three links: the first one displays a listing of all inbound, outbound messages; the second one is a link to your message quarantine, and the third one the account properties for your email address filtering. The most important bit on this page is under Security Settings. This is where you set the sensitivity level for filtering. The lower the threshold – the most left the slider is positioned, the less tolerant the filtering is. Which means the lower a score it takes for the filter to decide a message is SPAM. Conversely, the farther right the slider is the greater a score it takes to declare a message as SPAM. This is the only place on this page I would recommend making any changes. The rest of the settings should be left alone. After making any changes here you must hit the Save button for those changes to stick.
- While viewing your message quarantine you can preview a message. For each message listed in the quarantine the message subject is presented as a link. Clicking that link – and it’s safe to do so – will open the message and allow you to preview the message. There are controls on that page that will allow you to take action on the message.
- You should log into your Anti-spam account at least once a day and check your quarantine. Mostly to make sure there aren’t any non-spam (false-positives) caught in the quarantine), but also to clear things out so that it doesn’t get full and stop filtering your messages.
How Much Does It Cost
I charge $1.25 per mailbox per month. Billing is normally done by credit card unless other arrangements are made. The math is pretty simple: 10 mailboxes costs $12.50 per month. It’s an extremely inexpensive, easy to use solution for keeping Spam out of your inbox. If you’re interested in learning more, please get in touch with me either by phone see phone number above or by email here.
With pricing like that and the awesome performance of the product it’s a no-brainer.
- All filtering is done away from your in-house server so there’s no performance hit on your mail server.
- Low per mailbox monthly cost.
- Easy to access and use for the end user.
- Stable, Dependable, and Sensible.
CloudCare Email Security also offers Email Archiving and Encrypted Email Services.
Not already a CloudCare Antispam user? What are you waiting for? Contact me and lets get started.