I had a client who was just getting killed by spammers. Every morning their inbox was loaded with junk mail and they had as much as five thousand (5,000) emails in their spam filter box when they came in. I decided to help them out with the free version of Astaro Security Gateway. We threw the software version (v7) on an old AMD box they had lying around – 2GHz processor, 20GB IDE drive, 512 RAM, two NICS. What a difference spam filtering at the perimeter of the network makes! The first week was like “wow”. Astaro actually generates a daily report and for email filtering we had 36,930 processed. Get this, out of that number, 36,832 was categorized as “Spam emails blocked”. And the live log was right there for us to see. Emails the system was not sure about were placed in quarantine and you have the option of having an admin view, release or delete those emails, or have a report sent to the affected user. The report even had a “Top 10 Spam Sender” entry with the IP addresses and countries of origin (little flags) of the bad guys. There was also a “Top 5 Spam Countries” entry on the report.Management of the system is web-based through an https channel. There is even an option for remote management through a so-called “User Portal”. In addition to spam filtering, Astaro has a solid web filter with an extensive list of categories to help control internet usage in a business environment, including a built-in virus scanner that scans downloads. There is VPN capability with SSH, L2TP, IPSec and good old PPTP.
The point I was trying to make to this client was that enterprise-class solutions for small businesses do not have to cost a fortune. Of course, they could decide to keep using the “home” edition of Astaro, or, as I advised, donate some money to a good cause by buying the relatively inexpensive license for updates. If you have a small business and are putting off protecting your environment because of “cost”, you are not helping your business. Security software is an investment. If you can stop the threat before it gets into your environment, you have more time to focus on growing your business, not baby-sitting a spam or virus-infested mailbox every day.