Case Study: Municipal Office Eliminates 14,000 Junk Mail Messages Per Month Using CanIt
Jul. 11, 2006 12:00 PM
When the mayor calls to complain about the number of junk email messages and the offensive content of many of those messages that he’s getting, a network administrator listens. For Andre Thibodeau, Network Administrator for the City of Yellowknife, dealing with the plague of spam email was a 10-hour a week problem for him alone.
"But think about the users," Thibodeau says. "Everytime they hear that a newemail message has come in, they stop what they’re doing and look at the message. Better than 50% of our incoming email was spam. Some of our users were getting 100 spam messages a day that really adds up in terms of unproductive time. We had constant complaints, even from counsilors and the mayor."
Technology: For Better or for Worse
The city’s spam problem may have been exacerbated by some of its requirements. Email addresses are posted on the city’s web site an important part of being accessible to its citizens. But taking published email addresses from web sites is just one of the many ways that spammers choose their victims.
One solution to the problem actually created more work for Thibodeau, who explains, Before, I would go into the mail server and block domains. But then we had to start blocking some domains that had legitimate users, who then started calling us because their emails couldn’t get through.
Thibodeau required an enterprise anti-spam solution, and after much research settled on CanIt. Key among his requirements was flexibility. Although the city currently runs Sendmail on a UNIX server, they plan to switch to a Microsoft Exchange Server in the near future. CanIt will continue to work on its own server, with all incoming mail hitting the CanIt box first.
CanIt: Right the First Time
CanIt did the trick right off the bat, says Thibodeau, who evaluated the product before purchasing. CanIt eliminated virtually all our spam email the first day we put it into production. There was no need to look futher. Today, he spends just 10 minutes per day managing spam: The program’s scoring is so good I’ve learned that anything that scores above an eight on the spam score is junk and I don’t even look at it anymore. Over time, you add to the filters list and never see those domains again. Today, City of Yellowknife employees are not only pleased with the results, they can monitor them. Thibodeau took advantage of the product’s ability to post running spam stats on the city’s intranet site. It tallies all the junk email messages that CanIt catches. This week there’s 14,000 of them. People find it amazing!
About the City of Yellowknife
• Type: Municpal Government Office
• Number of email users: 120
• Pre-CanIt spam count: up to 14,000 spam messages per month
Email Environment and Use
• Publishes email addresses on web site
• Uses email for all internal messaging/calendaring as well as external
correspondence via web site
• Mail server: Sendmail running on UNIX; planning switch to Microsoft Exchange server in near future
• Various special software and network considerations, such as 911 dispatch and online registrations via email
• Eliminated ~500 spam email messages per day
• Reduced administrative time spent dealing with spam by ~88% (9 hours/week)
• Reduced individual spam mail counts by as much as 100 messages/day in some mailboxes
• Eliminated email user complaints