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Spam volumes increased from 60 percent of all messages to more than 95 percent in a short window. Message filtering accuracy had fallen below 80 percent with resource requirements quickly increasing.
"We chose Cloudmark because of the superior filtering rates, the excellent false-positive ratio, and the easy and smooth integration into our systems. Also Cloudmark has been very responsive and helpful when we ask questions or present issues." — Jochen Tuchbreiter, Co-Founder, Domainfactory
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- Business Challenges
- The Cloudmark Solution
Domainfactory GmbH is one of the largest Web hosting companies in Germany and operates 400,000 e-mail boxes.
Web Hosting Company
In less than three years, domainfactory’s spam volumes increased from 60 percent of all messages to more than 95 percent. Spam messages tripled from 10 million to 30 million. What’s more, message filtering accuracy with its current open source solution, Apache SpamAssassin, fell below 80 percent and resource requirements to filter the malware were quickly increasing.
Cloudmark Authority for SpamAssassin
- Filtering accuracy rate increased from 79 percent to 98 percent
- Message processing rate tripled to 60 messages per second, per server
- Deployment of anti-spam servers decreased 66 percent
- Administration time reduced by four man-hours per day
Domainfactory GmbH was founded in 2000 by Jochen Tuchbreiter and Tobias Marburg in Ismaning near Munich and is now one of the largest Web hosts in Germany. Its Austrian subsidiary, domainfactory Telekommunikations GmbH, started operations in 2003 and quickly became one of Austria’s leading Web hosts. The company serves more than 80,000 customers and administers more than 400,000 domains. Domainfactory has successfully positioned itself as a premium provider with an excellent price to performance ratio.
As one of Europe’s largest Web hosting service providers, domainfactory faced a rising tide of abusive messages. In 2005, 60 percent of messages it processed were spam. But by 2007, that number was an intolerable 95 percent. Spam e-mails had tripled in that time from 10 million to 30 million. Its implementation of SpamAssassin with custom rulesets was simply no longer effective in capturing these unwanted messages. Filtering rates had plummeted to 79 percent even as their mail servers were getting overwhelmed.
Domainfactory was committed to its open source platform, but was also willing to consider other potential solutions to improve message-filtering accuracy and performance. The company conducted extensive trials of several commercial options. However, all of these alternatives meant abandoning its SpamAssassin implementation.
The Cloudmark Solution
In addition to standalone solutions, domainfactory conducted a thorough evaluation and trial of Cloudmark Authority, a carrier-grade plug-in for SpamAssassin. Cloudmark Authority includes an integration layer that delivers the latest threat signatures from Cloudmark to SpamAssassin.
In addition to delivering the industry’s fastest and most accurate protection against spam, phishing, and viruses, Cloudmark Authority integrates seamlessly with virtually any SpamAssassin implementation. The solution offers an immediate improvement in filtering accuracy and performance, without requiring the customer to leave or make changes to its open source platform.
Using a unique combination of Advanced Message FingerprintingTM and corroborated reporting from the Global Threat Network, the industry’s most sophisticated threat detection system, Cloudmark rapidly detects messaging abuse with 98 percent accuracy and near-zero false positives. An additional benefit to this high accuracy is that Cloudmark Authority requires only a fraction of the processing power of alternative solutions.
Instead of processing-intensive rules, Cloudmark Authority uses lightweight Advanced Message Fingerprinting algorithms that do not impact processing performance. Each message is rapidly scanned against Cloudmark Authority’s in-memory cache of known bad fingerprints. This local cache receives frequent Cloudmark threat updates – every 45 seconds – that are only additions to this cache. As a result, Cloudmark requires only a fraction of the CPU cycles of traditional solutions while delivering a higher filtering rate. Cloudmark enables service providers to better predict infrastructure and administrative requirements over time.
In late 2007 domainfactory put Cloudmark Authority in production and the results just after a few months have been striking. The filtering accuracy rate increased for trapping spam messages increased from 79 percent to 98 percent which made a measurable impact on infrastructure, operations and customer satisfaction. Message processing rates improved threefold, from 20 messages per second per server to 60 messages per second per server on a Quad-Core Xeon 2.33Ghz. system. What’s more, domainfactory was able to reduce the number of anti-spam servers and by more than two-thirds - from 22 to 6 servers.
Just as important, user complaints about spam and e-mail performance have declined and the administrative burden on domainfactory’s support team has decreased by as much as four man-hours a day.