JANET fights back against email attacks

The growing problem of fictitious and unsolicited email has prompted JANET(UK), the company that runs the JANET education and research computer network, to invest in and deploy dedicated email management and security hardware to combat the issue.

The company has deployed two ES4000 Email Appliances from Sophos at the network gateway to tackle spam and phishing, as well as manage the risk of data leakage from within the organisation. The appliances are blocking around 100,000 spam emails a month before they reach individual mailboxes, reducing the amount of time spent clearing down email inboxes to get at useful mail.

"On one user's account, the appliance has blocked more than 150,000 spam messages to date, many of which would have slipped through our previous vendor's filter and caused serious productivity problems," said Peter Kent, head of ICT services at JANET(UK). "Employees are benefiting from not having to read and delete unwanted mail while our administrators enjoy low-level maintenance."

Among a number of technology services, JANET(UK) administers the UK-wide education and research network, with around 18 million users spread out across universities, colleges, research bodies and adult learning organisations.

The ES4000 units deployed at JANET(UK) can handle up to 80,000 messages an hour and features a web-based interface, automated security updates, and remote assistance, all of which is designed to minimise the maintenence overhead for the IT department.

The appliance is designed to block or quarantine up to 99 per cent of spam at the email gateway, in turn reducing the amount of lost productivity at the end user level, as well as reducing the amount of wasted space on the mail server taken up with unwanted and unsolicited junk mail.

"Email is now crucial to businesses of all sizes, and this growing dependency should not bring in its wake productivity issues, data leakage problems, or security threats," said Andrew Bradshaw, vice president at Sophos UK.

In addition to blocking the vast majority of the spam and phishing mails entering the JANET network, the appliances also aid the IT department in managing the information flow around and out of the network, allowing IT staff to apply policies to govern what content can be passed around in both internal and external emails, in turn reducing the risk of confidential information leaking out of the network by email either intentionally or accidentally.