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Case Study: Town of Davidson Improves Workplace with CanIt
Roaring Penguin Software

Although e-mail spammers used to avoid attacks on government employees, that isn't the case today. The problem affects all levels of government, and offensive e-mail content can create a threatening work environment that leaves administrators vulnerable to harassment complaints.

These are the issues that Jeremy Campbell, Information Systems Director at the Town of Davidson in North Carolina, was dealing with in early 2003. Campbell explains, although “just a few of our users were being inundated by spam, that alone was accounting for 25% of our mail volume.” Perhaps of most concern to the town, however, was that spam created an unpleasant environment in which to work.

“Offensive spam can create a threatening workplace and sexual harassment issues that we want to protect our employees from experiencing.”

A Simple Solution that Worked

Campbell researched various solutions and decided that a server-based antispam product was his best option. “I didn't want to manage a product on many clients,” he explains. “That would not have been a time-saving solution.” After evaluating Roaring Penguin Software's CanIt anti-spam software, Campbell says, “it worked right away and was very easy to install. Users who had been inundated with spam were immediately happy with CanIt.” Campbell chose CanIt from among other server-based solutions because it worked, it was simple and cost-effective. He remembers, “Not only did users give us positive feedback on the CanIt evaluation, but CanIt allowed me to take an existing workstation, put RedHat on it and load up CanIt. It was simple and cost-effective.”

Good Fit With Existing Environment

Campbell, who chose to build the CanIt server himself, spent just 30 minutes installing the solution in the town's Microsoft Exchange e-mail environment. Today, CanIt runs on a relay server that provides a mail filtering gateway. Campbell can select the filtering thresholds and write custom rules if necessary, and says he spends only minutes a day reviewing messages in the central Spam Trap.

Using the simple administrative interface, Campbell can whitelist or blacklist senders, hosts and domains, report spam, and much more – all from one convenient location.

“E-mail is very important to us,” Campbell emphasizes. “Probably 80% of our communications with other municipalities are via e-mail, and about 50% of communication with constituents. CanIt has helped us restore our e-mail to a useful business tool rather than an annoying or threatening problem.”

About the Town of Davidson
• Type: Municpal Government Office
• Number of email users: 40
• Pre-CanIt spam count: ~25% of Email Environment and Use

Email Environment and Use
• Publishes e-mail addresses on web site
• E-mail is used for ~80% of communication with other municipalities and ~50% of communication with constituents
• Mail server: Microsoft Exchange
• CanIt server: RedHat

CanIt Results
• Achieved centralized spamfighting solution, costeffectively
• Resolved problem of offensive spam creating a threatening work environment
• Administration of CanIt requires only minutes a day
• Eliminated e-mail user complaints

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