Yegor Kuznetsov, a Director with IceWarp, describes how TXOL Internet, a regional Texas-based provider of web hosting, web design, and e-mail services, addressed a crucial hurdle that was slowing down its expansion: the absence of a robust and secure email system it could offer to its clients as the centerpiece of their IT infrastructure. TXOL was rapidly building out its portfolio and contemplating Wi-Max Wireless Technology to expand its wireless offerings. The absence of effective messaging platform in the company’s product range was slowing it down.
It wasn’t like TXOL did not have anything at all. The firm was using Sendmail open source solution to provide its clients with basic messaging capabilities. However, the product was constantly breeding multiple security issues.
“We had a lot of problems with it,” explains Benny Williams, a Network Administrator at TXOL. “There was no control over outgoing emails, in addition to other glitches.” TXOL team tried to solve the problem by adding the Barracuda Networks solution to filter the outgoing traffic.
This, however, did not work. “We have discovered that the system was still sending spam emails through the network,” says Mr. Williams. At that point, adopting yet another security solution on top of the existing one seemed to be a dubious exercise. “There was no guarantee that replacing the application would fix the problem,” notes Mr. Wiliams.
As it often happens, TXOL ran across the effective solution by sheer chance. This time the chance came in the form of a successful acquisition: it turned out that the purchased company already had an effective messaging platform TXOL never heard of: IceWarp.
“We purchased a company that, as luck may have it, already had IceWarp installed,” recalls Mr. Williams. His team reviewed the solution, liked it and decided to purchase additional licenses.
TXOL discovered that IceWarp’s powerful features have significantly improved security for its customers and the company’s image.
“Prior to IceWarp, our reputation score fluctuated between 67 and 85 points – we were frequently blacklisted because of spamming activities,” says Mr. Williams. “Now our reputation score is between 99 and 100. It means we are not getting blacklisted.”
Blacklisting is the challenge for many other organizations in the same vertical with TXOL. For example, The Prairie Grove Telephone Company (PGTELCO), had the legacy email servers used IP ranges for end user authentication. Both machines had no limit on the e-mails sent, and it was extremely difficult to track down exploited accounts.
“Using IP ranges as a criteria means that if a machine is exploited, it becomes an open relay for sending out huge amounts of spam,” says Mr. Scott Griffin, Senior Systems Administrator at PGTELCO. “Just one compromised home computer resulted in whole server blacklisting. People have no tolerance for spam anymore – they’ll just block you without any notification.”
It took weeks, sometimes months to take the PGTELCO servers off numerous blacklists, and that was seriously affecting customer satisfaction. “If your e-mail server is out of control, than your business is out of control,” notes Mr. Griffin. In IceWarp experience, this security issue plagues many companies in the same space.
“Spammers are becoming more and more talented and their commandeering of corporate email servers is more frequent than ever,” explains John Cooper, Vice President of North America Sales at IceWarp. “You really do need to bring a combination of security features together to ensure that you can protect yourself and ensure you stay off of blacklists.”
Industry research firms also see this as a serious issue.
“Email is a core collaboration technology in the business world, but the value of email is limited when legitimate conversations are mistakenly routed to spam and junk email lists,” states Hyoun Park, Research Analyst, Collaboration and Integrated Communications at Aberdeen Group. “It is vitally important for companies to optimize and secure email delivery in ways that support employee productivity and the reputation of the organization.” PGTELCO solved the problem by replacing its aging machines with IceWarp in a virtual environment. “All security aspects are now in the single management console,” says Mr. Griffin. “This greatly improves the overall functionality. I can view the stats and see how many emails were sent, their size, and when users last logged on/off from what IP address. And, it is easy to identify inactive accounts and those that exceeded their quota.”
Additionally, the solution helped TXOL reign in systems administration costs. “IceWarp is so easy to manage, that we can use administrators who are not too tech-savvy,” says Mr. Williams. “The product already paid for itself.”
Currently TXOL is upgrading its network to provide high-speed wireless connectivity and sell additional services that can be powered by IceWarp. “For example, we will consider IceWarp for VoIP offerings, groupware and instant messaging offerings local businesses could be interested in,” concludes Mr. Williams.
Yegor Kuznetsov, IceWarp