On-Premises Antispam Network Software - dummies

By Doug Lowe

An on-premises antispam program runs on a server on your network and interacts directly with your email server. Email that arrives at your server is passed over to the antispam program, which evaluates the email to determine whether it’s spam or legitimate mail.

The antispam software uses a variety of techniques to identify spam and can usually be configured for optimal performance. Email that is identified as legitimate is handed back to the email server for normal processing. Depending on how you configure the software, email that is identified as spam may be sent to your users’ Junk folders or stored in some other location.

In smaller organizations, the antispam software can run on the same server as the email server (for example, Microsoft Exchange). In larger organizations, the antispam software can be configured to run on its own dedicated server, separate from the mail server(s).

Here are some of the advantages of using an on-premises antispam product:

  • You have complete control over the configuration and operation of the software. Most on-premises antispam software is highly configurable, often providing a dozen or more distinct filtering methods, which you can customize in many different ways.

  • On-premises antispam software is usually tightly integrated not only with Microsoft Exchange but also with Microsoft Outlook. Spam email typically appears in the users’ Junk folders, and the software often provides an Outlook add-in that makes it easy for users to mark incorrectly identified email.

  • On-premises software is relatively inexpensive. Typically, you pay an upfront fee to purchase the license, as well as an annual maintenance fee to receive regular updates not only to the software but also to the spam filters.

Here are the main disadvantages of on-premises antispam software:

  • You’re responsible for installing, patching, configuring, updating, and otherwise maintaining the software.

  • Because the relationship between the email server and the antispam software is complicated, on-premises antispam software periodically malfunctions. Such a malfunction usually halts mail flow throughout your organization. It then becomes your responsibility to correct the problem so that mail begins flowing again. (This usually happens just at the moment when your boss is expecting an important email, and you’ll find yourself diagnosing and fixing the problem while your boss watches over your shoulder.)

  • On-premises antispam software increases the workload on your servers, requiring additional resources in the form of processor time, RAM, disk storage, and network bandwidth.