Wednesday, December 1, 2004

The Postini always rings twice


By Doug Robinson

Combating spam continues to be a bigger and bigger issue for system administrators all over the world. Spam blocking software can be expensive, is far from foolproof, and setting up filter systems hasn't been sufficient for years. Postini provides a new way of combating the problem.

With only a simple setup, Postini will check over all your mail with its advanced spam-detection algorithms. Spam is quarantined in your Postini Message Center, and the email you care about is sent to your email address as if nothing had ever happened. And Postini doesn't just check for spam, either; it also protects your time and productivity by scanning your mail with McAfee virus-checking algorithms. Less spam, no viruses. Sound good?

Users around the globe are converting, and Postini is thriving. It checks over 100 million emails per day, and over 5.5 billion each month. That's an email for almost every person on Earth, every month. According to Postini, over 80% of that is spam. Don't you think it's time you did your part?

Starting the signup process with Postini is a snap. The only hitch is that, strangely enough, there doesn't seem to be a way to just sign up instantly on their site. But who wants to buy a car without test-driving it? Unlike a number of competing solutions, they're more than happy to give you a free thirty-day trial.

You can find Postini at, and there seems to be a link to the trial version on every single page. Once you're signed up and ready, the first thing you need to do is alter your MX records on your DNS to point your incoming mail to Postini's mail servers. This is really the point that distinguishes Postini the most: spam or virus-laden emails never even touch any part of your system.

Once it's passed through all the filters, any mail left standing is sent through Postini's servers to your mail server(s) as set up in your Postini configuration. All this can be set up using your Postini master account, which lets you manage company-wide settings, add and delete users, and generally manage your Postini account.

At this point, your basic setup is complete. You have a fully usable Postini setup, and it will rapidly and dramatically cut down on the amount of spam you receive. You'll likely need to set up additional users, possibly domains, and the like, but that's simple enough.

There's still more that you can do to even further reduce spam, just by digging a little into your Domino configurations. Open your Domino Directory (names.nsf) on your mail server, and open the "Configurations" view in Configuration -> Messaging -> Configurations. If you don't currently have a configuration settings document for your mail server, select the "Add Configuration" button.