Email Virus Scanning

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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It's old hat that the vast majority of computer viruses are disseminated by email. It's old hat that if you don't have Symantec or McAfee or some other software to scan incoming traffic, odds are good that you'll pay the price. Sadly it's also old hat that software solutions that address the problem only as it enters the front door are the only answer at the moment.

And as much of an inconvenience email virus scanning might be for the home user, it is exponentially more so for corporate network managers. On the one hand are multiple incoming messages from multiple sources with differing content, differing formats, and differing types of possible malignant software programming. On the other are multiple recipients. In the middle is the network mail server.

Not a Minute Too Soon, or Just a Minute Too Late?

While there are numerous desktop anti-virus software and server applications, there's an inherent problem with each. Both operate within the network infrastructure. Whether the virus targets the boot sector or a software application or data files, the problem is the same. To put it metaphorically, the moat has been breached, the castle walls scaled, and the keep taken. The horse has left the barn. The dogs of war have been unleashed. You get the idea: network security is compromised.

An effective solution will prevent the virus, worm, or Trojan horse from reaching a network in the first place. It will also not add to the processing strain the mail server already sustains. By definition, it will stop viruses from reaching their target. But it will also screen the flow of email traffic to weed out recognizable spam from legitimate email traffic before the mail server is forced to do so. Ideally, it will maintain data and privacy concerns. Such a solution means, certainly on the corporate level, a specialized third-party service vendor.

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