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WiscNet members choose anti-spam products for different needs

Members of WiscNet, a non-profit cooperative that networks Wisconsin institutions, took different directions in choosing anti-spam software after a test conducted with eWeek last September, the magazine has reported.

After months of seeking out anti-spam systems, examining more than 30 respondents and choosing six for evaluation, eWeek and WiscNet sought a solution that would be flexible enough to provide anti-spam services to all of WiscNet’s members. While some need access to their blocked e-mail, for example, others, such as the K-12 school districts, need to restrict access to filtered messages.

WiscNet’s choice was Postini Inc.’s Perimeter Manager Enterprise Edition, an anti-spam service that has filtered 2.5 million of WiscNet’s e-mail messages and quarantined 300,000 since its installation in March. Postini is headquartered in Redwood City, California.

“Perimeter Manager provides anti-spam filtering and ably controls access to users’ quarantined spam,” eWeek analyst Cameron Sturdevant wrote in an article. “Elementary- and high-school students, for example, can’t access quarantined mail, but college students and professors can resurrect blocked messages with the click of a button.”

WiscMail automatically directs all its incoming mail to the Postini operations center, where it is filtered and sent back to the organization’s e-mail servers. This doesn't require WiscNet members to install any special software. Each message passess through several filters that analyze its sender, header, and message in order to filter out spam, and only spam.
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Postini allows staff members to determine how spam is managed at any level. “Postini Perimeter Manager's techniques for filtering spam were among the best we saw during the eVal. Where Postini differs is that Perimeter Manager caters to users' desire to twiddle with their spam settings” Sturdevant wrote.

To conduct the tests, WiscNet member organizations chose different anti-spam providers.

Carroll College wanted a system that would be implemented on campus in order to retain privacy and freedom of speech for students, but needed something that was effective enough to filter through over 1 million messages per month. John Arechavala, Carroll College’s network and systems manager, decided on Green Bay-based Solinus Inc. and its MailFoundry product.

The School District of Cambridge, a K-12 institution, needed a system that would eliminate all spam without showing it to users. A little over a year ago, the school district implemented True Protect, a spam service from FrontBridge Technology Inc., which is headquartered in Marina del Ray, California.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s network systems administrator, Pete Kretche, wanted a software solution that his users could program themselves. The campus chose the iHateSpam tool from Sunbelt Software Inc., of Tampa Bay, Flordia. The program, installed on a Microsoft Exchange server, detects new e-mail accounts and provides the university with a customizable anti-spam service.

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Katy Williams is a Madison-based freelancer for WTN and can be reached at katy@wistechnology.com.

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