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Anti Spam Review - Anti-Spam for the Small Business

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Spam is a tremendous problem that causes businesses millions of dollars of loss each year due to wasted resources. For large businesses, this is a cost of doing business. For the individual and the small business, this impact can be crippling. New laws have helped to slow the tide, but we have not completely eradicated the problem. An investment of time and money now in spam prevention can pay off in a big way later. Let’s examine some of the options.

1. Use an ISP (Internet Service Provider) or an email service that employs virus and spam filtering.

Do not assume that your ISP does because many do not. Call them, and discuss the filtration they have in place. Most ISPs provide an anti-spam review of their network and policies. Remember, this is your first line of defense, and your home or business should not have to contend with system-wide spam or attacks because the ISP should defend them at the point of entry. Be willing to change ISPs to achieve this level of protection, which they should include free. If changing ISPs is not an option, consider an email service.

2. Avoid free email services.

Many free email services generate revenue by selling the addresses of their clients to advertisers. These advertisers are not necessarily spammers, but if the host sells to enough of them, they might as well be. Therefore, its best to avoid this companies altogether, or evaluate their privacy policy thoroughly.

3. Use an alias email address.

Most spam originates when we hand out email addresses to make purchases and to register for various services online. Defend against this with a disposable email address that redirects to the root address. For example, while you distribute me@isp.com to your customers, you can instead distribute me1@isp.com online. All mail to me1@isp.com redirects to me@isp.com. If me1@isp.com becomes the target of too much spam, simply shut it down, create me2@isp.com, which redirects to me@isp.com, and begin distributing that address.

4. Avoid distributing business email addresses as hyperlinks.

A favored spam tactic is to crawl the Web searching for email addresses. Avoid this by exposing your email address as either image or disguised whenever possible. Since your business website is a primary target, all email hyperlinks as images there will go a long way toward limiting spam.

5. Buy and install professional anti-spam filtration as a second line of defense.

An internal line of defense configured to your specific needs is a critical step. This in combination with the ISP filtration should block most spam from your system. However, this isn’t a simple step because there are hundreds of anti-spam software options on the market and countless anti-spam reviews online.

How to Choose an Anti-Spam Filter

1. Do the research, but be wary.

Your primary resource will be the anti-spam reviews, but it’s important that you focus on legitimate resources. Companies like CNET, Consumer Reports, and PC World are good bets. Be wary of all others. A large number of anti-spam filters have affiliate programs, which ironically lead to spam websites whose sole intentions are to get you to click on links for the products.

2. The software should be standalone. It should be a layer between you and the email server.

Avoid anti-spam solutions that are part of a greater suite. Developers design these suites for the home user, and while they are not necessarily bad programs, they are not often a full-featured solution that will meet the needs of the modern small business. Purchase an anti-spam solution that accesses the email server on behalf of the client. Anti-spam filters that go to work after the client has downloaded the email are far less efficient.

3. Opt for full analysis.

Note the anti-spam review to make sure the considered packaged analyzes the email both inside and outside. This means that it analyzes the source and header as well as the body. Flexible global and local whitelists and blacklists are a must-have. Bayesian filtering is the most sophisticated form of spam detection that we have. If a spam filter doesn’t have it, it’s not a spam filter worth having.

4. Seek high-quality safe preview.

Pay particular attention to each anti-spam review to note the quality of the safe preview. No spam filtration is perfect. There will be false positives. Your business must have a mechanism in place for them to inspect each flagged email and decide for themselves whether it is spam.

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