Local council blitzes daily onslaught of 60,000 spam messages with Sophos

March 17, 2008 Sophos Press Release

Telford & Wrekin Council
Telford & Wrekin Council is using Sophos to block spam and malware at its email gateway.

IT security and control firm Sophos today announced that it is delivering protection against spam messages and email-borne malware to Telford & Wrekin Council. Responsible for providing email services to 84 local primary and secondary schools, the Council's civil offices have deployed Sophos Email Security and Control to defend student and teaching staff email accounts from more than 21 million spam messages a year.

Prior to installing an email security solution, the council relied on Sophos Anti-Virus to protect local schools from malware, spyware and suspicious files but did not have any protection at the gateway. But with pupils and staff receiving increasing levels of unsolicited emails, the council made the decision to adopt a spam filter.

Responsible for thousands of student email accounts, Telford & Wrekin Council needed to ensure their email security solution not only defended against the latest malware threats, but also reliably blocked inappropriate and offensive content often sent in unsolicited emails. Sophos research reveals that 95 percent of email is spam, of which 32 percent contains links to adult or offensive material.

"As well as the obvious need to protect our network from cyberattacks, our principal concern is protecting young people from receiving or accidentally accessing pornographic or other unsuitable material that spam messages are so often associated with," said David James, network administrator at the civil offices of Telford & Wrekin Council. "We have to make sure that our student accounts are safe and that our email security is 100 percent reliable."

With the civil offices only providing email services to schools that opt in to the scheme, it was essential that the chosen solution guaranteed a high level of service, otherwise schools could opt out. Telford & Wrekin Council trialled Sophos's email appliance alongside a competitive solution from Trend Micro. Following the evaluation, the council opted to install Sophos Email Security and Control - two ES4000 appliances to scan all incoming and outgoing mail, and PureMessage to provide protection for internal email.

Handling up to 80,000 messages an hour, the ES4000 features an intuitive web-based interface, automated security updates and remotely monitors and alerts customers to any issues - greatly minimising administration time.

"In addition to a massive reduction in spam messages making it to pupil inboxes, the immediate benefit we saw was the reduction in time that the IT team has to spend handling email administration," continued James. "Straightaway we were able to set and monitor user and group-specific policies. Teachers and pupils no longer have to waste time sifting through hundreds of spam emails each time they check their accounts."

"The internet and email provide great value to schools and their pupils and should be actively encouraged. However, with such a huge amount of spam traffic, often containing or linking to obscene material or malicious software, it's important for schools to have the highest level of protection," said Andrew Bradshaw, VP at Sophos. "Spam email can not only expose children to unsavoury content, it can also leave pupils and staff open to malware attack. The council should be applauded for safeguarding local children from both malware and spam."