Hosted solution cures spam's crippling effect on corporate VPN, bandwidth

Inhouse filters overrun.

Atlas Specialty Metals has saved more than $4000 a month in excess bandwidth consumption by subscribing to a hosted spam prevention service.

The specialty metals processor and distributor supplies stainless steel and aluminum to 22 cities across Australia and New Zealand, and employs 5000 staff.

Australia and New Zealand infrastructure and support manager Scott Murray said spam was crashing the company's network, exceeding bandwidth limits, and isolating remote users.

"Spam was choking our downloads which had a knock-on effect on our Web proxy. We had a 20GB commitment with our ISP but we were regularly pulling down 80GB which cost us thousands," Murray said.

"On average, an e-mail used to take ten minutes to reach an employee from an external source."

Hundreds of remote staff were unable to connect to central network applications through the company's VPN, and excessive lag times for outbound e-mail were hampering marketing efforts.

An internal Websense gateway spam filter was overrun, according to Murray, after the company searched for a stopgap solution. He said some 90 percent of e-mail was spam.

Murray then purchased a hosted spam solution from the same company late last year, after evaluating several other solutions. Requirements during the selection process included the ability to perform HTTP URL filtering, and limit connections and bandwidth rates for specific applications.

Spam management demands have fallen by about 80 percent and the company is now in line with compliance requirements.

Murray has also managed to postpone a large upgrade of the company's server infrastructure since network traffic has decreased.

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