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Anti-abuse system was extremely processing-intensive, leading to unpredictable resource requirements. Suboptimal filtering accuracy was causing an increase in customer care costs.
"Cloudmark solved our runaway hardware problem. The efficiency of their intelligent fingerprinting algorithms means that we can reliably predict resource requirements. We don’t have to worry that unexpected spikes in traffic or new software updates will negatively impact our business." — Ray Lawson, Telus
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- Business Challenges
- The Cloudmark Solution
Telco/Internet Service Provider
- Current messaging anti abuse system was extremely processing-intensive, which led to unpredictable resource requirements with implementation of new software updates.
- Suboptimal filtering accuracy from current anti-abuse product resulted in customer complaints about excessive spam.
- 90% reduction in number of resources required to run message filtering
- 20% decrease in spam, phishing, and viruses impacting subscriber inboxes
- Better predictability in resource planning
- Simplified administration of messaging anti-abuse system
- Increased competitive advantage and customer satisfaction
As Canada’s second largest telecom company, Telus delivers a wide range of communications products and services including data, Internet protocol (IP), voice, entertainment and video. Despite an extremely challenging business environment for telcos globally, Telus has emerged as one of the top- performing telecommunications companies in the world and currently provides Internet access to 1.1 million subscribers. One of the company’s key strategic initiatives is to offer integrated solutions enabling competitive differentiation. It was important that their email services, which come bundled with Internet services, offered the same high level of quality their as other lines of products.
The quality of Telus’ email services was threatened by increasing volumes and sophistication of messaging abuse. In addition, Telus was also concerned that their existing solution was consuming resources at an unpredictable rate. Earlier this year, Telus needed to rapidly add servers in order to keep pace with the processing demands of their existing anti-abuse product. While their email traffic grew at forecasted levels, their anti-spam hardware requirements were growing out of control. In the span of eight months, their anti-abuse application server utilization had doubled.
This additional resource requirement was driven by software updates and the method that the incumbent product used to scan messages. Since the current product utilized rule sets that need to must be run on all messages (legitimate or otherwise), increasingly complex rules designed to combat new strains of messaging threats put an additional high burden on the CPU. Even after doubling the capacity, the servers were running at 70% CPU utilization. At this rate, Telus needed to double the number of servers for a second time in year.
Despite high resource utilization, the existing Telus anti-abuse product caught on average only 50% of messaging abuse after IP filtering. This volume of unwanted traffic put stress on the messaging infrastructure and negatively impacted the subscriber experience. Telus began to look for an alternative solution offering improved filtering accuracy as well as more predictability in infrastructure planning.
The Cloudmark Solution
Telus evaluated four leading messaging security vendors, including Cloudmark, based on the following criteria:
- Filtering accuracy: percentage of spam, phishing and viruses caught after IP filtering together with false positives
- Resource efficiency: CPU utilization of the processing servers
- Carrier-grade scalability and reliability: predictable growth and robustness
- Service provider experience: the vendor’s current footprint among top-tier service providers
Cloudmark proved superior to the other solutions across all these dimensions.
- Cloudmark improved filtering accuracy by more than 20 percentage points - delivering a filtering accuracy rate of over 98% with near zero false positives
- Cloudmark required less than 1/10th of the system hardware of the incumbent product
- Each Cloudmark server was able to process both inbound and outbound messages at over 3 million messages per hour - 10 times faster than the competing product
Deployed in November 2006, Cloudmark Authority offers end-to-end protection against all forms of messaging threats, including spam, viruses and other malware. Unlike competitive solutions that require endless rules-writing, Cloudmark employs a unique combination of intelligent message fingerprinting, the world’s largest live threat network and an automated back-end validation system to rapidly detect and stop new threats.
Since implementing Cloudmark Authority, Telus has seen dramatic results.
Telus was up and running with Cloudmark within one week from installation to setup, quality assurance (QA) and rollout. Since Cloudmark Authority was designed to seamlessly plug into all major MTAs, there was no need to perform any provisioning changes or network re-architecture..
Significantly improved resource efficiency
Telus was able to reduce the number of required servers by more than 50%. Furthermore, utilization on each of these servers was only averaging around 5% versus greater than 70% on twice as many servers just a few months ago.
Higher customer satisfaction
Cloudmark improved filtering accuracy by over 20 percentage points. This has resulted in higher customer satisfaction and fewer complaints. After Cloudmark was deployed, Telus also noticed a significant drop in spam-related support calls.
Cloudmark’s improvement in filtering accuracy and CPU utilization is expected to save Telus millions of dollars annually on infrastructure, administration and support. By freeing up existing server, bandwidth, storage and other resources that could be re-deployed to enhance service offerings, Cloudmark has helped Telus improve its competitive positioning without spending more money. SpamAssassin, Cloudmark also helped reduce administrative costs.