Hosted email cuts law firm's spam woes

Hosted email cuts law firm's spam woes

Hosted email security service saves time, storage costs


South Australian-based law firm Piper Alderman has turned to a hosted email security service to cut out the 9000 spam emails it received each day.

With 53 partners, over 150 lawyers and almost 300 staff in total, of which around 20 percent are mobile workers, the growth of the firm is underpinned by a fibre-based WAN that connects offices in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The company originally used an internal e-mail filter than caught up to 90 percent of incoming spam, but the filter only blocked suspect e-mails once they had entered the company's servers.

Piper Alderman's IT director, Paul Colley, said that at its peak the firm was receiving around 9000 spam emails per day, all coming through the mail filter servers in the Adelaide office.

"The incredible volume of spam was significantly compromising our bandwidth and that had a flow-on effect for users who, quite rightly, expect an efficient e-mail system," Colley said.

"More importantly, as a law firm it's extremely important that junk entering our e-mail systems isn't compromising legitimate e-mail communication or placing our systems at risk of compliance breaches."

Originally, Colley was hesitant about company information being handled externally, but believes hosted solutions have matured and is confident in their ability to block suspect emails long before they enter the firm's network.

"We originally looked at a hosted service about four years ago. At that stage it was still very new to Australia and I was a little uncomfortable about it, but we looked at it again around 18 months ago and at that stage I was much happier about what was being offered as a solution, and I was very keen to save bandwidth as well," he said.

The company previously used Websense security products, and turned to Websense's hosted email security service to deal with spam.

"The main benefit is the freeing up of bandwidth. 8000-9000 spam emails a day takes up quite a bit of bandwidth. It was certainly slowing things down. The speed of the network has certainly increased since we looked at a hosted solution,"

The hosted service is more accurate than previous filtering software, and offers recipients more control over what gets delivered into their inboxes.

"Because we act for banks and large companies, some of the filters we've used in the past were unable to recognise the difference between legitimate e-mails and phishing attacks," Colley said.

An upstream solution also allowed the company to save on storage costs, as it is no longer archiving the thousands of spam emails it receives every day.

"In addition, knowing that Websense can hold up to seven days' worth of e-mail external to our network bolsters our disaster recovery procedures. This enhances our risk management and provides greater peace of mind," Colley said.

Overall, the hosted solution has dramatically reduced the amount of time Piper Alderman's IT staff spend managing the email traffic across its network.

"It reduces the amount of time we spend managing it - I would say we're probably saving the equivalent of one day or one person per week actually managing it. We still have to manage it, but nowhere near the amount we had to before."

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