The Importance of Outbound Email
IP and domain reputation is a serious concern for anyone who does business online, which, in 2016, is almost anyone who does business at all. Online businesses depend on the ability to send and receive email. The vast majority of business communication, from marketing messages to customer support, happens over email. It can devastate a business if its email isn’t delivered; but if a business is caught sending spam, that’s exactly what will happen.
You might be thinking: so what? Spam is harmful and people who send spam should be prevented from doing so. You’ll get no disagreement from me on that point. The problem is this: without a comprehensive outbound spam filtering system, it’s next to impossible for a business to be certain that spam isn’t being sent from its network.
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples: a web hosting company and an eCommerce merchant.
Web Hosting Providers
The case of the web hosting company is similar to any organization that provides email services to its clients. If there’s a way for spammers to exploit a system, they will. The most obvious way for that to happen is for a malicious client to use email services offered by the platform.
Larger web hosting companies are vigilant against spam, but many companies offer email and hosting services using the resources of hosting providers. Web design companies, web service providers, marketing agencies, and many others offer email services but don’t have the resources to ensure their clients aren’t spamming or being taken advantage of by spammers.
Both hosting users and hosting providers are at risk of landing on an IP blacklist.
eCommerce Merchants And Spam Malware
eCommerce merchants (and CMS users, for that matter) are a high-value target for online criminals. Often run by people who aren’t security experts, unpatched eCommerce stores can be infected with malware, and used to send spam.
Blacklist providers take what may seem like a harsh view here. If spam is sent through an IP, it may be blocked. It doesn’t matter that the IP’s legitimate user had no malicious intent. The IP now has a reputation as a source of spam.
Of course, that’s a problem for the eCommerce merchant and the web hosting company, which has a limited number of IP addresses at its disposal.
Stopping Spam At The Door
An outgoing spam filter is the only viable solution. It’s almost impossible to guarantee that a hosting platform won’t be used to send spam. However, it is possible to monitor all outgoing mail. Dealing with the problem before it hits the open internet and triggers its anti-spam immune response.
Outgoing spam filtering is a vital line of defense for web hosting companies as it prevents abuse of their networks. For web hosting users, the spam filter adds value to their hosting account as even if they are hacked, losing the ability to send email to their customers isn’t a likely consequence.