Office 365

Antispam in Office 365: What You Need To Know

Spam has taken over the internet. It overwhelms servers and makes its way around antispam algorithms. Thankfully, the ...

Spam has taken over the internet. It overwhelms servers and makes its way around antispam algorithms. Thankfully, the percentage of spam emails has rapidly declined since 2014. Even so, spam still accounts for almost half of emails sent, and some do slip through the cracks. This is why it's important for email providers to take additional steps.

Why Is AntiSpam a Crucial Component of Data Security?

Concept of sending e-mails from your computer-2Spam is such a nuisance that some countries have created laws against it, such as Canada's legislation in 2014. Experts believe this law and others like it played a serious role in the decrease of spam.

In an enterprise-sized organization, what are the risks associated with this email nuisance?

Fills Up Inboxes

This was the most common complaint in the early days of spam. People would find their inboxes filled with messages that made it difficult to find important emails. With more companies migrating to the cloud, online storage is especially critical. Companies do not want to lose that space to spam.

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Can Overload Servers

When inboxes are filled with spam, it can overload servers. This is a particular problem for small businesses that don't have the resources to manage a lot of emails. Additionally, if spam remains undetected, it can be forwarded on to other people in the company, exacerbating the problem.

Ties Up Customer Service

As a manager, you know that customer service is important. You don't want your customers struggling to reach you during critical steps of the buyer experience. Antispam can prevent unwanted messages from tying up customer emails, chats and servers.

Can Contain Viruses

This was an even bigger problem in the early days of the internet when people were less aware of the risks. Now, people know to be careful about what they open, but even so, viruses can get through. In some cases, these viruses can take down an entire network.

Can Contain Phishing Links

Hackers hope people will click on phishing links that will then take them to a fake website. They may try to get the person to enter personal information or install software that gives them access to the device. This can be especially dangerous for businesses, as it can lead to a data breach.

What Are the Antispam Features in Office 365?

Office 365 and Exchange Online use a variety of methods to detect and block spam. IT admins can configure these settings to suit the needs of the organization. However, be mindful of how changing configurations can increase the risks of harmful messages getting through.

Consider the following features:

Content Filter

These filters look at the content of an email and determine whether it's likely to be spam. This includes things like checking for common spam keywords and looking at the company's reputation and the links included. Here are some of the categories Microsoft groups emails into when filtering:

  • Bulk email
  • Phishing email
  • High confidence spam
  • High confidence phishing email

Connection Filter

This breaks down into the following three types of antispam filtering:

  • The sender filter looks at the sender of an email and determines whether they're on a known list of spammers or whether their domain is known to be used for spamming.
  • The IP block list looks at the IP address of the sender and checks it against a list of known spammer IP addresses. If it's on the list, the email will be blocked.
  • The recipient filter looks at the recipient of an email and determines whether they're on a known list of spammers or whether their domain is known to be used for spamming.

Spoof Intelligence

This looks at the email headers to determine whether they've been spoofed. Spoofing is when someone pretends to be someone else by forging their email address. Hackers use spoofing to trick people into thinking an email is from a trusted source when it's not. Commonly spoofed sources include antivirus software providers or banks. In some organizations you might receive an email supposedly from the CEO,  when really it has been spoofed.

Outbound Spam Filtering

This looks at emails sent from your organization to see if they resemble spam. It can also prevent your email server from being used to send spam to others. Identifying this potential problem at the source can save your company millions in fines. It also protects the company's credibility.

What Can You Do About Antispam Filtering Errors?

No system is perfect. Algorithms meant to detect spam can sometimes either fail to detect it or incorrectly label legitimate emails as spam. Here are ways to address that and train the system to yield better results:

  • Whitelist emails from specific senders so that they're never marked as spam. This is useful for things like newsletters or other emails you always want to receive.
  • Blacklist emails from specific senders so that they're always marked as spam. This is useful for dealing with known spammers or people who always send unwanted emails.
  • Configure the sensitivity of the antispam filters so that more or less email is marked as spam. This is a balancing act. If you're too lenient, you'll get more spam. If you're too strict, you risk missing important emails.
  • Monitor the quarantine to see which emails were incorrectly marked as spam. You can then whitelist those emails so that they're not quarantined in the future.

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Why Is Cloud Migration Vital for Using Office 365's Antispam Measures?

Microsoft has invested heavily in its security and antispam framework. This is one of the many reasons most companies worldwide rely on its products and services. However, accessing these services requires migrating to the cloud. Our cloud migration specialists at Cloudficient are ready to help. Contact us for a quote.

With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.

If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.

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