Plumbers' Co-operative filters out spam deluge

Gateway appliance chosen over hosted solution

With spam hampering staff productivity and increasing helpdesk calls, Sydney-based plumbing suppliers company Plumbers' Supplies Co-operative Ltd has replaced an open source e-mail security solution with an network gateway appliance.

The cooperative has some 5000 members, supported by more than 250 staff, and operates a warehouse and 30 retail branches throughout NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

In addition to an average of 10 spam messages being received by 150 inboxes every day, security was compromised further when two virus attacks struck the network.

Infrastructure and systems manager Kazi Musa said spam was causing lost productivity for operational staff and wasted time with numerous helpdesk calls.

"E-mail viruses and spam were constant threats to our business, while the viruses halted business and wasted up to an hour a day of our technical people’s time," Musa says. "The problem was causing high levels of frustration across our organisation."

To alleviate the problem, the cooperative replaced its existing e-mail security solution with a MailGate appliance Axway (formerly Tumbleweed) after an evaluation of a range of hardware device-based systems.

By its own figures, the 150 e-mail accounts at the cooperative receive about 2000 legitimate messages per day with some 15,000 illegal connections stopped by the appliance.

Musa says after 12 months of operation with the security appliance there has not been a single virus attack.

"Before MailGate, some 15 to 20 per cent of IT helpdesk calls were e-mail related. This figure has dropped to 1 per cent," he says.

Musa told CIO the company considered a hosted anti-spam service, but concluded a gateway appliance would offer better anti-virus protection.

The rise and rise of e-mail security spending.

New research from The Radicati Group tells a sad story of the trend in e-mail security, and how much CIOs will be spending on it.

In its report "E-mail Security Market, 2009-2013", Radicati estimates worldwide e-mail security market revenue to rise from more than $US4.4 billion in 2009 to just under $US6.7 billion in 2013 -- an increase of more than 50 per cent.

According to Radicati research, the need for e-mail security solutions is directly related to the overall growth of the messaging market. In 2009, for example, a typical corporate user sends and receives about 167 messages a day, and this is projected to grow to about 219 messages per day in 2013.

"For organisations, this growth in traffic means that they will need more effective defences against all types of malware, to prevent any major interruptions to their business activity," according to Radicati.

"Organisations poorly protected against e-mail threats pay a high price, losing millions of dollars in extra IT costs, productivity costs, network downtime, bandwidth costs and more."

According to the research, a typical 1000-user organization spends at least $1.8 million every year to manage spam.

After appliances, the hosted e-mail security services market is experiencing the second highest growth in the e-mail security space.