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Spam and Virus Protection for Inbound and Outbound Mail

Service Overview

Spam and virus protection for electronic mail is an essential component to providing an electronic mail service. On average, over 80% of mail on the Internet is spam.


This section will define any terms that might need additional explanation to help people better understand the service.

  • Feedback Loop - Receive notifications when people receive spam from your organization/institution at major providers. Yahoo, Comcast, AOL, and other major providers support feedback loops.
  • BlackList - If an institution is sending spam, it could be blacklisted by spam protection groups. Mail being sent from the institution could be blocked or throttled for an extended time period.

Successful approaches and options for providing the service

This section will list alternatives for providing the service. Alternative hardware and software products might be listed. Various support models and architectures could be identified. Various management tools could be included also. Advantages and disadvantages to each approach/option should be included.

Outsource/Cloud Solution

There are many spam protection offerings available in the "cloud" so institutions do not need to run their own internal spam protection. These include:

  • Postini (Google)
  • Proofpoint
  • Microsoft ForeFront



  • All institution mail is routed through external provider
  • less control over spam thresholds

Commercial Premise Solutions

There are many commercial premise solutions including:

  • Proofpoint
  • Microsoft ForeFront
  • McAfee
  • IronPort



Open Source Premise Solutions


  • Lower costs


  • less reliable support

Requirements for providing a successful the service

List of items required for ensuring a successful service delivery. Some of these requirements may be generalized or directly related to a specific delivery model and should be noted.

Inbound Spam practices

  • Thresholds
  • quarantines
  • blacklists (SpamHaus, etc,)
  • vendor reputation lists
  • customer white lists
  • customer black lists
  • customer opt-in/opt-out options

Outbound Spam practices

  • Throttling potential spam
  • how to get off blacklists
  • how to monitor blacklists
  • monitoring for spam
  • feedback loops

Benefits to providing service

List of benefits to the various constituents (students, faculty, employees, alumni, parents, etc.) at the institution.

Nice-to-Have Options for the service

Blacklist Monitoring

Feedback Loops

Feedback loops are useful for monitoring the reputation of a mail domain.  Although most feedback received are false-positives,  some attacks can be identified.  Information on feedback loops can be found at


Costs - Approximate costs for products and people

Most services do require cost for spam protection and monitoring.  Costs do vary. 

Staff Responsibilities

Provide a list of responsibilities staff will be required to perform to provide the services.

Best Practices to providing the service

Include information regarding engaging stakeholders, tracking & resolving issues, planning the service implementation, training plans, communication plans, etc.

Risks/Concerns with providing the service

This area will identify the factors and risks which might cause the service to fail. This area will also discuss how to plan to mitigate those risks.

Institutions using the service

List institution web sites in this area which provide the services.

Reference information for expert people in providing service

If an expert is interested in providing additional information on a service to others, they could list their contact information in this area.

Mailing list information for the service

Educause mailing lists, other higher education mailing lists

Other external resources available for the service

reputable blogs, vendor web sites, linkedIn groups


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