Aug
23

Next Generation of Email Security

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The more I read about the “next generation” of anything I feel that the term next generation is overused. Nonetheless, let’s look into what the next generation of email security would entail.

The bulk of vendors using the next generation moniker when it comes to email are anti-spam companies and let’s face it, there is a very good reason for that. The first generation of anti-spam software did not solve the problem. Nor did they slow the problem. In fact, the bulk of anti-spam countermeasures have done next to nothing.

At Hostingcon 2009, I was at a session where representatives from Rackspace and Cloudmark were discussing anti-spam software and someone posted on the Twitter board that they thought the next generation of email security would be passwords and encryption.

I have to beg to differ with this reasoning. Password and encrypted email technologies have been around for a very long time. The only thing that is needed in that department is adoption not necessarily more tools. There are tools already that add an encryption layer to programs such as Microsoft Exchange. The only failure for those tools is that very few people actually use them.

Spam on the other hand has three major problems that have not been addressed. First off, high levels of spam flood networks and use up server and network resources. Second, spam can be a vector for malware. Third, current anti-spam products have a problem with false positives and by putting legitimate business email into a spam folder or even trash, spam makes employees waste countless time sifting through these junk folders to find emails that are necessary to their work.

According to a report by Symantec back in May of this year, spam accounts for 90% of all email. With that large of an amount, spam doesn’t just hassle users, it costs data centers hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in power, maintenance, and hardware costs each year, globally.

When we look at the security threats that email is faced with everyday, spam IS the highest priority and therefore the future of email security will be anti-spam software until the problem is resolved, if ever. Now a solution like Cloudmark’s Cloudfilter is very much an innovative means of solving the spam problem, but also all of its side issues. By removing spam before it gets to a network mail server, CloudFilter saves the data center a great deal of money and protects users by keeping malware out of their inboxes.

So when Cloudmark says they are offering the next generation of email security… well I am inclined to agree.

Categories : Security

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