What can I do to avoid my company receiving spam emails?

Email spam is disrupting my 50-person marketing agency. Staff are getting tons of unwanted and unsolicited emails. I’m tempted to introduce a policy similar to that of John Caudwell of Phones 4u who banned email for internal use, but realise this would not prevent it from happening. So how can I fix it effectively and how much should I expect to pay?

A. John Coulthard of MBS writes:

Spam can have a huge effect on the productivity of your workforce – the typical user gets around 13,000 spam emails a year, which adds up to a lot of lost man-hours for your business.

While measures such as banning internal email are rather extreme, you’re right to try and get the problem under control as quickly as possible. It can be a fairly straightforward process to cut down on spam, although eliminating it completely is almost impossible.

It’s advisable to start by looking at your own business practices to ensure you’re not unwittingly spamming other firms – are you sending emails that don’t get opened? Are your emails regularly ignored/not replied to? Improving your own mail practices might help reduce the amount of spam your workers receive.

Secondly, if you have a workforce that isn’t based solely in one office – for example, if you employ home or mobile workers – you need to ensure the solution you choose can filter incoming spam for the entire employee base, no matter where they access your network. This means investing in a server-based filtering product, which will cost in the region of £300.

Alternatively, if your email is provided by an ISP, contact them and ask what they can do to help. ISPs, such as Bigfoot and Cobweb, have anti-spam products that could solve your problem very quickly and effectively, with minimum effort by you.

Whatever solution you decide on, you need to ensure it only affects spam – there must be an option to retrieve genuine customer mails that might be accidentally blocked by the spam filter you install.


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