The Administrator Shortcut Guide to Blocking Spam with Sender Validation

by Alan Sugano


The Administrator Shortcut Guide to Blocking Spam with Sender Validation is a free eBook from Realtime Publishers that will put you on the road towards learning about this technology and how it can be used to secure businesses more effectively than ever before.

Written by notable computing expert Alan Sugano, this guide will familiarize you with Sender Validation and how it compares with other anti-spam solutions (blacklists, key word filters, Heuristics and Bayesian filtering, etcetera). Since there are many different Sender Validation solutions to choose from, Alan will also help you discover what to look when choosing the right system for your business.


Chapter 1: Spam and Spam Filtering Methods

Spam—everyone hates it, and it has reached epidemic proportions over the past year. Some estimates list the spam rate as high as 70 percent of all Internet mail traffic. Spam clogs up Internet WAN lines and consumes a significant amount of a user’s day. If you have reached the point at which spam is annoying enough to do something about, this guide will help you do so by focusing on the following topics:

  • Existing anti-spam technologies
  • Enterprise-wide spam solutions
  • Spam filtering topologies
  • Spam product selection, implementation steps, cost justification, Return on Investment (ROI), and integration with existing mail packages
  • Spam filtering add-ons, estimated costs, and implementation pitfalls

Installing spam filtering software on a single workstation is a fairly simple task; however, implementing an enterprise-wide spam filtering solution requires careful evaluation and planning. You can expect difficulties—particularly false positives—when implementing any spam solution. In addition to being prepared for these considerations, you need to be aware of and plan for ongoing maintenance, which can be a hidden cost when implementing a spam solution.

There are many methods to block spam:

  • Keyword filtering
  • Open Relay Database (ORDB) checking
  • Whitelists
  • Blacklists
  • Mail Exchange (MX) record lookups
  • Heuristics
  • Sender validation

However, only sender validation holds the promise of blocking 100 percent of spam. Sender validation has been around for quite some time and has had success in the Post Office Protocol (POP3) market. The concept of sender validation is very simple. If a user that is on your “approved senders” list sends you a message, you get the message. If the user is not on the list, the message is quarantined. Most sender validation spam solutions deal with individual POP3 mailboxes. Although these individual solutions work well, such has not been the case for past network enterprise deployments of sender validation. Sender validation has been criticized as an undesirable solution for fighting spam in enterprise environments. To avoid any problems and benefit from the 100 percent blocking power of sender validation in an enterprise environment, simply select a vendor that has a mature sender validation solution. In this guide, we’ll examine how to avoid the pitfalls of sender validation and implement this solution to cut spam to zero.

Fortunately, implementing an anti-spam solution is one of the easiest IT projects to cost justify. Imagine the productivity savings each user will experience if their spam is cut to zero! Typically even a small company can recoup their investment of an anti-spam solution in as little as 2 months. For larger companies, the cost recovery is even faster. Thus, sender validation is a solution that sells itself. Before we jump into how to begin saving money through sender validation, let’s briefly establish a foundation of spam history and terminology.

Chapter 2: Sender Validation Solutions

In the first chapter, we explored the growing crisis of spam as well as the spam-blocking methods available and being developed to overcome this problem. In this chapter, we’ll delve deeper into sender validation solutions—exploring both client-based and server-based solution options. Although I will briefly cover sender validation solutions for individual use, the chapter will focus on business solutions.

The first step in implementing a sender validation solution in your organization is to select a sender validation service or dedicated server. But which solution is right for your environment? We will identify the critical considerations to help you determine the answer. In addition, we’ll explore the steps necessary to implement the sender validation solution you select. Let’s start by taking a look at client-based sender validation solutions.

Chapter 3: Implementing a Sender Validation Solution in Your Company

Sender validation is the only spam solution I know of that has the potential to eliminate 100 percent of a company’s spam. There are many ways to implement a sender validation solution in your company. Sender validation can be implemented as a service or a dedicated server. The dedicated server can be installed in your company’s DMZ, local area network (LAN), or in a co-location facility. Each configuration has its advantages and disadvantages. Your email environment will dictate the best sender validation configuration for your company.

In this chapter, we’ll take a look at the cost justification of a sender validation solution, the estimated startup and maintenance costs, and the implementation steps necessary to set up a sender validation solution as a service or dedicated server. In addition, I’ll provide best practices to follow after the sender validation solution is up and running.