Everton tackles spam with SaaS option

By Dave Bailey
27 Nov 2009 View Comments
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Premier League football club Everton is a household name, which makes it a prime target for marketing pitches, scams and unsolicited bogus emails. These emails became a major problem for Everton to process.

Steve Fell, Everton's head of ICT, said: "We were spending too much time administering our email system. In the past 28 days we’ve had 3.6 million emails and of those, about one per cent were genuine."

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To deal with this, the club decided to outsource the problem to anti-malware vendor Webroot, which implemented its Email Security Service.

Everton had been using an Exchange 2003/Outlook system, which was run on its own servers, and managed remotely at a datacentre rented from its supplier.

Fell said: “The amount of hardware we needed kept growing, but the system still wasn't coping with the amount of email we received. In fact, if we had continued to manage our email security that way, we would need up to four servers to handle the mail.”

The volume of incoming mail also meant that a lot of genuine emails were being lost in Everton's system, requiring a member of the team to clear out the system three times a day.

"We were also getting calls from members who had been expecting emails but had not received them, meaning we had to release them manually which was becoming a major burden for us," explained Fell.

So Fell signed up with network supplier Control Key, to use Webroot's Email Security Service to protect the club’s email users with anti-virus scanning and image filtering.

Webroot had been recommended to Everton by Liverpool FC and the IT department also did a lot of research and due diligence before the solution was procured.

Fell said: "The actual rollout was easy. All we had to do was contact our ISP to change the domain name service and MX records."

DNS and MX records determine how emails should be routed to firms' domain names, and determine the actual IP address of that domain.

Everton's IT systems analyst Dave Sumner said that technical support from Webroot had been good too. "They respond quickly, and the problems are usually resolved within four hours," he added.

Aside from the hardware costs saved in rolling out infrastructure to run its own email system, Everton's IT team also said they had benefited from easier administration and reporting with Webroot's service.

That in turn gave time savings of 12-14 hours per week for the IT department, meaning it didn't have to employ extra administration staff.

In future, the department will introduce deep content scanning of mail, another feature of Webroot's SaaS email package.

That will mean Everton can deal with potentially litigious content. In addition, the deep scanning feature will help protect against confidential business information being leaked through the firewall.

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