Microsoft’s Outlook Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection offer some pretty standard features to help you keep spam from hitting your employee’s inboxes. By actively ensuring spam is kept out, you are safeguarding the productivity of your employees. However, if you are having issues with your Microsoft Exchange filters, below are a few areas that you can focus on to get them working again.
How Exchange Spam Filters Work
If you have signed up for Exchange Online and feel their spam filters are not effective, you may be missing information or need to adjust some settings.
With this service, the Exchange filters automatically detect and analyze all emails coming into your network and filter based on the originating IP address which deletes most spam before it is even analyzed for content. The second filter then analyzes the content in the message to determine if it is in fact spam (based on your pre-set rules). At this point if the message is considered spam, it is moved to the corresponding employee’s junk box. For EOP, you will need to further configure transport rules.
If you feel the filters are not working, then the following areas will need to be explored first, in order to determine if your “setup” is affecting spam emails.
As an Exchange administrator you have the power to use safe sender and recipient lists to ensure that emails are not labeled as spam when they come from these sources. These lists can be created for your entire company or for a specific group of users. Creating these lists can ensure that certain emails are not categorized as spam , even if they come from overseas or a specific user is allowed through.
There are essentially three exchange spam filter policies that you should be aware of to ensure that your spam and malware filters are both meeting the challenges of the day, as well as only filtering what needs to be filtered. Connection, Spam and Outbound filters within Exchange can all aid in removing unwanted email from your employees inboxes. Connection filters allow you to specify safe IP addresses to send and receive emails from, whereas a Spam filter allows you to specify company wide or team specific spam policies to create custom filter policies for your company. An outbound spam policy prevents the likelihood of you sending spam and becoming a blacklisted spammer.
Lastly you can start looking at individual message spam scores assigned by the Exchange filters to determine why certain messages are getting through and others are not, even if they are both not considered spam. Once you’ve analyzed these scores you can develop anti-spam policies to ensure these messages do not get through to your employees.
However, one anti-spam filter is never considered enough and most security experts suggest layering your protections to ensure that those that are missed by one service are picked up by another. modusGate offers a great suite of products that can help you boost your exchange spam filters.