South Africa ISP reduces spam by 95 percent

TSI, a subsidiary of Eskom Enterprises (Pty) Ltd., claims to be the first South Africa service provider to launch an anti-spam service that can reduce unwanted e-mail to 5 percent of what is usually received.

Michael Brunzlik, MD at TSI, says while some Internet service providers (ISPs) do offer anti-spam measures as part of their packages, this is usually only to their dial-up users. He adds that there are many products sold locally to manage spam, but, if they are not regularly updated and maintained, their effectiveness rapidly tails off, hence the decision to provide a service as opposed to a product.

The company initially tested the service in its own environment, then with existing clients, and has now released it to the market.

Benefits to companies are said to be that the service is non-intrusive, both to implement and once in place. It is also claimed to be low-risk in terms of business impact and cost, because there is no lock-in period, and also because it costs just R5 (US$0.72) per user per month in large organizations.

Frank Biesman-Simons, business development manager at TSI, says that this makes the service financially viable for companies of any size, almost immediately. The increase in productivity from staff not having to deal with unwanted mail, and the savings on server space, bandwidth and network infrastructure, make it even more attractive, he adds.

Brunzlik says there is currently no way in which spam can be totally eliminated, but his company's service can radically reduce the annoyance factor. "We have virtually eliminated spam on our servers, reducing it to 1 percent of what we previously received. However, the danger in reducing it to such a low percentage is that it may also block false positives -- the term describing mail that is identified as spam but which is not. Blocking at too high a percentage can be more damaging and counter-productive to business, as essential mail containing critical business information may be deleted," he says.

"Now we are working on a default ratio of one blocked false positive in 1,000 being acceptable. Depending on individual client experience and needs, adjustments may be necessary to meet their profile. It is such aspects of the service that set it apart from off-the-shelf products," he concludes.

Anyone wishing to read more about the service, and to sign up, can do so on TSI's Web site (http://www.tsi.co.za).

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