When people come back from vacation they often dread a deluge of spam clogging their work e-mail inboxes. On average, employees spend about three hours a day picking through their messages, deciding what is spam and what is not. To help regain these lost hours, MCI Canada has introduced a managed service to help filter unwanted content.
The service, called MCI Canada’s Managed Scanning Service, has been available globally since last year but only launched in Canada late last month.
“We all have personal expericence with these kinds of challenges,” said Robert Quance, general manager of MCI Canada. “Things like spam are a producitivity hog. Having an easy way to solve that problem, eliminate that headache and take away the drain on people’s time without having to hire people or put in new systems is seen as a plus.”
Radcliffe Systems in Thornhill, Ont. is one company that has signed on to the new service. Prior to outsourcing this task, the business management software company was using Symantec’s SMTP gateway to help filter its e-mails, but even after setting filter rules and real time blocking, the solution wasn’t quite up to scratch.
“We still [were] getting lots and lots of spam [and] we were also blocking messages we wanted,” said Mark Linford, technology manager with Radcliffe Systems.
Linford added he was spending a couple of hours per day going through the company’s 6,000 e-mail messages, two thirds of which were spam.
“We didn’t have the time to manage it anymore [or] the resources [and] expertise,” Linford said. He decided to go with MCI, as the telecom company was also Radcliffe’s ISP. However, Linford did look into doing e-mail management in-house but discovered “it was way too expensive [and it] would have taken a long time to pay for it.”
Since using the service, Linford said his employees have noted a dramatic decrease in the amount of spam they were receiving.
The Managed Scanning Service offers three-way protection that includes anti-spam, anti-virus and image control. Each of these services costs less than $2 per month per user but all three together cost less than $5 per month per user.
The service works by taking e-mails destined for a customer’s mail server and directing them towards MCI’s filtering engine. Based on the services they selected users can control the degree, severity or level of filtering they want based on portals provided by MCI. Once the parameters are set in the filtering engine, the e-mails are filtered and then redirected back to the customer as a clean flow of e-mails. All of this filtering is done outside of a company’s network, Quance said.
Amol Shah, analyst, telecom and Internet research for IDC Canada, said the vulnerability of corporate networks is an ongoing concern for businesses and network services provide a real opportunity for service providers to cash in on their network expertise.
“Telcos have had experise in networks and have recently emerged as players in security, mainly for the reason everyone is looking for help in security and providers are looking for a way to monetize their networks,” Shah said. He added MCI’s “challenge will be to fend off Canadian telcos like Bell and Telus along with the traditional security players.”
According to Quance, since launching globally, MCI has flitered about 10 million e-mails a day in North America and Europe.