B2B2C Case Study

  1. Overview
  2. Profile
  3. Business Challenges
  4. The Cloudmark Solution
  5. Results
  6. Conclusion

Overview

Customer

B2B2C

Industry

Canadian Internet service provider with over 20,000 mailboxes

Business Challenges

  • Filtering accuracy was at the 79-percent level
  • Staff spent 16 hours per week writing and maintaining rules for SpamAssassin
  • Messaging filtering servers were at full utilization, prompting constant need for additional servers

Cloudmark Solution

Cloudmark Authority for SpamAssassin

Benefits

  • Message filtering accuracy went from 79% to 98%
  • Reduced false positives due to automated feedback
  • 400% improvement in message throughput

Profile

Headquartered in Montreal, B2B2C offers high-speed Internet access, web hosting services and private IP networks to business, enterprise and residential customers. B2B2C currently manages over 20,000 mailboxes.

B2B2C built its messaging security platform on open source code, and deployed Apache SpamAssassinTM for their messaging security. Their lead system administrator optimized SpamAssassin by using a variety of rules and integrating an open source plug-in, and achieving a 79% accuracy rate. While this was a good rate for SpamAssassin, they felt they could do more.

Business Challenges

Beyond the need to enhance filtering accuracy, B2B2C also faced other challenges. Their lead system administrator was spending an increasing amount of time maintaining and updating rule sets for SpamAssassin. Furthermore, increasingly heavy rule sets had dramatically degraded performance by 50%.

Not only was message throughput slow, CPU utilization was at an all time high. With loads often peaking above 10, the system was bordering on the breaking point (a system running very well would have a load of less than 1). Administrators would routinely get paged several times during day or night about their filtering servers going down because they were overloaded.

All these operational and infrastructure issues were set against a backdrop of rising spam and malware in the mailstream. Spam, phishing, and viruses accounted for more than 90 percent of all incoming e-mail for B2B2C. Furthermore, B2B2C had to contend with more sophisticated and persistent strains of messaging abuse, a trend which is predicted to grow significantly in the coming years.

Although B2B2C enjoys strong customer loyalty, continued customer satisfaction was threatened by growing levels of messaging abuse.

The Cloudmark Solution

B2B2C used Cloudmark Authority, a carrier-grade software plug-in for the SpamAssassin platform. In addition to delivering the industry’s fastest and most accurate protection against spam, phishing and viruses, Cloudmark Authority is designed to integrate seamlessly into virtually any SpamAssassin implementation. The solution offers an immediate improvement in filtering accuracy and performance, without requiring B2B2C to leave or make changes to its open source platform.

Cloudmark utilizes a unique combination of Advanced Message Fingerprinting and corroborated reporting from the Global Threat Network, the industry’s most sophisticated threat detection system, to rapidly detect messaging abuse with greater than 98% accuracy and near zero false positives. Along with this high accuracy, Cloudmark Authority requires only a fraction of the processing power of alternative solutions.

Results

B2B2C was up and running with Cloudmark within one week from installation to quality assurance (QA) and rollout. Since Cloudmark Authority was designed to seamlessly plug into virtually any SpamAssassin environment, there was no need to perform any provisioning changes or network re-architecture. Cloudmark Authority offers the highest protection against all forms of messaging abuse.

Increased accuracy rate

B2B2C’s accuracy rate went from 79% to 98% with near zero false positives. Cloudmark Authority is uniquely able to detect spam, email-borne viruses, as well as highly-targeted and transient threats like phishing attacks.

CPU utilization decreased by more than 50%

Rather than using processing-intensive rules, Cloudmark Authority uses lightweight Advanced Message Fingerprinting algorithms that do not impact processing performance. Each message is scanned at near wire- speed against Cloudmark Authority’s in-memory cache of known bad fingerprints. Cloudmark threat updates are only additions to this cache. As a result, Cloudmark requires only a fraction of the CPU of traditional systems while delivering a higher filtering rate.

Conclusion

Cloudmark enables service providers to better predict infrastructure and administrator requirements over time.

B2B2C (45KB)
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B2B2C (45KB)

Cloudmark Authority for SpamAssassin enables us to easily integrate Cloudmark into our legacy messaging system without the need for additional development or tools. The powerful combination of SpamAssassin’s email filtering with Cloudmark’s Advanced Message Fingerprinting technology has lowered CPU utilization and reduced the incidents of false positives, making a huge difference in the cost of ownership and overall customer satisfaction.

–Martin Lathoud
System Administrator, B2B2C
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