Machine Solutions Inc. an Arizona-based manufacturer of medical product testing equipment, was faced with two email-related issues: first, the ever-increasing volume of spam that was reaching the company and second, the problems associated with cumbersome .pst files and the lack of a real-time archiving system. To resolve these issues, Machine Solutions implemented GFI MailEssentials, an anti-spam and anti-phishing solution; and GFI MailArchiver, an email archiving and management package. Challenges Machine Solutions Inc. provides innovative and effective proprietary mechanical solutions to a variety of complex process, testing and device design challenges. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Flagstaff, Arizona, the company has satellite Sales offices located in the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis, MN to more efficiently service the needs of their clients and customers in these areas.
As with the majority of businesses around the world, email is a primary means of communication for the company and an important source of documentation that is a record of Machine Solutions' everyday business activity. The downside to the use of email, however, is that the technology is being used by spammers to commit fraud, to offer products and services. The volume of spam email that the company started receiving prompted management to look for a solution that effectively reduced the amount of spam without affecting genuine and important email.
"We were receiving hundreds of spam emails flooding the system on a daily basis. The situation was getting pretty much out of hand so much so that the company's management asked me to do something about the level of spam coming into our system," James Olson, IT Administrator at Machine Solutions said.
"Besides the risk that a malicious email could be opened and infect the network, there were also productivity issues as employees had to stay checking hundreds of useless emails throughout the day. For many this was a total waste of time," he added.
The high dependency on email also resulted in Mr. Olson having to contend with typically large and troublesome .pst files that Outlook uses to store emails. Not having an email archiving solution that stored all email in real-time in a central location was another matter of concern.
"We were using the built-in Outlook 2003 .pst system. This does not work well and has to be managed almost daily. These files are problematic and not always handled properly resulting in emails being lost or the .pst files becoming corrupt," he said.
Mr. Olson added that business requirements to retain copies of all email correspondence and being able to access old and even deleted emails when necessary was an area that required immediate attention as well.
"Apart from reducing our dependency on .pst files, I was also aware of our compliance obligations and the need to retain a copy of all company email. We had no central repository and this made it very hard to trace emails that we could need in the event that a dispute arose or a request was made," Mr. Olson explained.
To resolve these issues, Machine Solutions opted to purchase two products from GFI Software: GFI MailEssentials, an anti-spam and anti-phishing solution; and GFI MailArchiver, an email archiving and management package. Mr. Olson carried out extensive market research to see what is available before coming across GFI's range of products that are designed with small and medium sized business in mind.
"I spend countless hours and days of online research to find the solutions that I wanted. I came across GFI and found its products had the features that we required at a reasonable cost. I had looked at other products such as Microsoft Intelligent Message Filter; AntiSpamSoftware.com; Symantec Mail Security for Microsoft Exchange and McAfee but opted for GFI because of the ease of implementation, the cost of the products and the support structure that they have in place," Mr. Olson said.
Installation was also a smooth process. "It was very straightforward and the software worked the first time I loaded it. Over the past two years that we've been using them, we have not encountered any issues with server performance. The services are small and do not take up much memory," he added.
The implementation of anti-spam software had an immediate and positive impact on the company.
"Results were immediate and end-users were ecstatic that their mailboxes were no longer being taken over by loads of spam selling everything from pharmaceuticals to sex-related offers and products. End users no longer have to deal with large amounts of spam and they have more time available to address/respond to valid business emails. The product is effective, it is easy to maintain and it also runs on its own," Mr. Olson said.
From an email archiving perspective, the company now has real-time email archives and one immediate benefit was the amount of email server storage space that was freed up.
"We have saved a lot of storage space because end-users do not need to archive their emails in .pst files nor do they need huge amounts of space on the servers. Furthermore, by archiving all company emails in a central location, it has allowed us to retrieve old emails that were deleted with minimum effort and quickly.
"The company has also saved money because I no longer need to manage over 100 .pst files spread out across the servers. These are now all managed centrally. Finally, GFI MailArchiver has helped us in becoming compliant with the business requirement to keep an archive of all inbound and outbound emails from our systems," Mr. Olson added.
With GFI MailEssentials and GFI MailArchiver, Machine Solutions has addressed two areas of concern for the company: spam and the need to archive email.
"Overall, I am very happy with the GFI products we use on our network."
SOURCE: Business Solutions Magazine