Professional email security and central organization of email traffic
About the Client
Our customer in this success story comes from the public sector. It is the district administration of a local district comprising 25 independent communities in eight administrative areas with a population of over 130,000 inhabitants.
As an authority of the administrative district, the district administration (DA) also has a number of responsibilities towards the citizens in addition to its local authority tasks.
The administrative district is predominantly oriented towards agriculture. The most important branches of business in the industrial and commercial sector are mechanical engineering, metal production and processing, woodworking and wood processing, chemicals and plastics, electrical engineering, and the leather, textile and garment industries.
The district administration (DA) offers a broad range of services online. The website provides citizens with the option of contacting the authority’s staff directly via email. This became increasingly difficult due to the explosive increase in the amount of spam at the DA.
According to the IT manager of the DA, the filter methods of their Microsoft Exchange email platform were no longer able to cope with the mass of spam. The inspection of the subject line and the text per word list were not efficient. The DA staff complained with increasing frequency that important messages were incorrectly filtered out as false positives.
In addition, the platform permitted potentially dangerous email attachments, such as executable files, to pass through without being inspected. There was also no possibility of storing emails suspected of being spam in a separate database until the recipient could finally evaluate them.
Moreover, the virus scanner was not up to date to the nearest hour and could not be set finely enough. The fact that three persons from different areas were responsible for the email administration also proved to be no longer appropriate. A new administrative structure for the email traffic was needed: It had the task to balance the functional deficits of the messaging environment in the DA, and it had to be able to administer them centrally via a single interface.
The modular iQ.Suite not only converts the fundamental safety aspects such as virus and spam protection, but also provides organizational help, such as the automatic production and attachment of sender signatures. All the steps are carried out centrally by the server and policy-based. The implementation of the iQ.Suite modules took just one day. The amount of training expenditure for the administrator was minimal. The system now integrates 600 users into the email administration. The first modules to be used by the DA are iQ.Suite Wall for spam filtering, iQ.Suite Watchdog for virus checking and iQ.Suite Trailer for email signature. “iQ.Suite Wall revealed impressive results in terms of the ratio between the spam filter quota and the exclusion of false positives. Each employee now only receives emails that are really important thanks to a flexible filter procedure”, states the IT manger of the DA.
Messages, which are clearly identifiable as spam (advertising, “hoaxes”) are immediately filtered out by the exchange server. The spam probability is deduced by analysing the sender, the subject line and the message text based on more than 20 groups of criteria. These processes run automatically; any adaptations that need to be carried out to the iQ.Suite are minimal. The DA additionally uses the quarantine database, which email recipients can inspect if the situation is particularly unclear. At the same time, the administrator receives a message, on the basis of which the spam and virus filter can be rapidly adapted. The IT manager of the DA states that the iQ.Suite is far superior to comparable solutions in terms of filter efficiency with respect to false positives and the option of differentiating the regulations. iQ Suite Watchdog uses the finger print method to clearly identify files if they are suspected of containing viruses. These are certain patterns, which every file type is based on. Falsified file endings can be revealed by comparing the patterns. As file types should not be generally blocked, the module provides options for people to produce their own file models, for instance for text, image and sound documents or to restrict them based on their requirements. The third application priority in the DA concerns the sender signature with the iQ.Suite Trailer. In this case, presenting a uniform image to outsiders was crucial for the DA. Signatures as well as short texts can be generated centrally and automatically attached to outgoing emails with iQ.Suite Trailer. The source for the sender information is Microsoft’s “Active Directory” user directory. The administrator compiles the desired user signatures for all the user groups via MMC (Microsoft Management Console). The employees do not need to deal with anything. An “inquiry” with the active directory provides information whether additional specific sender information must be integrated over and beyond that of the standard signature, which it then automatically carries out.
Email security and organization in the district administration are professionally implemented by means of iQ.Suite. The iQ.Suite modules function so well together that the district administration does not need to carry out any essential intervention work within its systems. It is enough to update the regulations once a month. The management work involved remains minimal due to the centralized administration console that is easy to operate.
The functional areas of the iQ.Suite used up to now have placed the administration of email traffic in the district administration at a new level. The personnel responsible for IT want to continue going down this path, and as a next step are planning to test the server-side encryption using the iQ.Suite Crypt module.