Email Systems – Ensuring Viruses Aren’t an Issue

August 9, 2012 by  
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It is really easy to run your own email infrastructure. Even systems like Microsoft Exchange can be deployed to manage your organization’s email infrastructure. Setting up a system is only a small part of what needs to be done; it is also important that any system you set up on the network is secure. Security is really a big job, and with email servers, you need to take other things into consideration besides keeping your Exchange Server secure – how your users will be affected. Let’s focus on one major problem – viruses. Viruses can affect your Exchange Server, or any other email infrastructure you might have set up, as well as your users’ machines.


How should one tackle the virus problem?


Exchange Infrastructure:

When it comes to protecting your Exchange infrastructure from viruses, the first thing that comes to mind is to simply set up an antivirus solution on the Exchange Server. This is obviously possible but tricky. Unlike a desktop, installing the antivirus alone is not enough. You’re free to do it if you really want to, but rest assured it will have a substantial negative impact on your Exchange Server’s performance. In order to ensure a good performance, there are various files you have to exclude from being scanned each time they are accessed. The reason behind this is that these files will be accessed by the system as soon as new emails are received for processing.


It is also important to ensure that you do not rely exclusively on your antivirus software for virus protection. Many viruses spread by leveraging software flaws, so performing regular patch management can greatly reduce the possible vulnerabilities for viruses to exploit.


Your Users:

The next step is that of safeguarding your users’ inboxes from viruses. Email is a popular vector for distribution of many different malware types, including viruses. There are many ways we can tackle this problem. The easiest way would be to deploy a simple antivirus solution on every single desktop, but is this really enough? If you move your antivirus system server side you can have greater control. Such server side products offer advanced features when it comes to antivirus as well – from multiple antivirus engines protecting your users, to features such as sandboxing and various other heuristic techniques to detect even custom-made malware that antivirus companies might have yet identified or provided protection against.


Preventing malware from reaching users is also essential because this lowers the risk that an employee will click on phishing links or attachments that lead to or contain malware.


Installing an email system such as Microsoft Exchange is only the first part of the job. Securing the infrastructure itself is not enough either. You must ensure that your users’ usage of the infrastructure is safe in itself. While doing this will involve some extra work, in the long run it will save you considerable amounts of both time and money!


This guest post was provided by Emmanuel Carabott on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more about what the right mail server antivirus solution for your company should include.


All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.



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