Software

Lock IT Down: Controlling spam and e-mail content with Nemx

How Nemx software can optimize e-mail filtering


In today’s workplace, many e-mail administrators and their companies are finding it necessary to function with e-mail content management software in place. At my organization, we recently evaluated a number of these products, and the one that came out on top was Power Tools from Nemx. Of all the products evaluated, this was the only product that did everything we needed while offering low overhead in terms of consuming system resources. In this article, I’ll show you some of the key features of Nemx Power Tools and demonstrate how easy it is to implement.

Features of Nemx Power Tools
Nemx Power Tools can:
  • Scan message subjects for keywords defined by the administrator.
  • Scan message body for keywords and sentences.
  • Scan messages for attachments.
  • Scan message headers for organizations or individuals that are banned from sending messages into our domain.
  • Auto-add disclaimers to messages.

You configure the Power Tools product from within the Exchange Administrator utility. This provides great ease of use and flexibility, especially in a large company that may have more than one network administrator.

Signature Maker can add predetermined blocks of text (Banners) to the beginning and/or end of all messages originating from a particular user or group of users. Defaults may be set up on a server basis, with overrides available on a per recipient basis, including distribution lists. Signatures can be defined with property variables, which are then replaced with the user's specific properties (Name, phone, etc.). This is ideal for company-wide disclaimer statements or consistent "look and feel" signatures for users or departments of users.

With Address Manager, you can easily add e-mail addresses to handle the unique requirements of your organization. Full wildcarding is supported, allowing an unlimited number of addressing rules to guarantee accurate delivery of otherwise-undeliverable mail. In addition, you can ensure that misdirected mail gets routed to the correct user based on the intended friendly name.

Spam Blocker stops unsolicited and unwanted mail at the front door of Exchange before it can get to your users, wasting their time and stealing valuable message storage space. Using a combination of various e-mail header recognition techniques and RBL database lookup, Spam Blocker is an effective measure in reducing the battle against junk mail.

Using the Content Filtering module, you can easily define rules to monitor the contents of outgoing and/or incoming messages for violations in corporate policy, offensive language, or security implications. Once triggered, the message can be deleted, quarantined, forwarded to another user for review, appropriately categorized, or a number of other possible actions. Content Filtering can also prevent specific files from entering or leaving your Exchange organization.

Working with Banners
Banners are set up on the page shown in Figure A. Basically, a Banner is an auto-appended block of text that can be defined by an administrator. The Banner can be associated with an Exchange container (meaning all users within that container get that particular Banner) or associated with the individual mailbox. The administrator sets up the Banner, and the end user has no configuration capabilities over the Banner.

Figure A


To build a Banner, we first give it a name and a description, as shown in Figure B. It is a good idea to make this information as descriptive as possible so that you know what the banner contains. You can choose to either build the banner using Plain Text or Rich text Format.

Figure B


Address Manager
Next, we’ll take a look at the Address Manager module. It can be used to set up auto-forwarding to addresses. For instance, say you have a person in your company with an often-misspelled name such as Debbie.Zwilling. You could set up an Address Manager that forwards all messages sent to Debbie.Zwillin, Debbie.Zwiling, and Debbie.Swilling to Debbie.Zwilling. You can have multiple addressing rules for the same recipient to cover all possible versions of that person’s name.

Figure C shows the dialog box for creating new Address Manager rules. The Addressing Rule box will contain the name that you want it to intercept. In our example above, this would be Debbie.Zwillin@yourdomain.com. Selecting the Delete Mail option will delete any mail that arrives at your domain from outside that is addressed to Debbie.Zwillin@yourdomain.com, but if you select the Forward Mail option, you can either enter the name of the person you want to receive the e-mail (Debbie.Zwilling@yourdomain.com, in our example) or you can click Browse to search through Exchange’s Global Address List (GAL) and assign it to anyone in your organization. For example, you may have a utility e-mail address that collects all of these mistaken messages.

Figure C


Spam Manager
The main screen for the Spam Manager module takes you to the Subject Filtering area, Originator Filtering area, and Header Filtering area. Figure D shows all the Subject Filtering rules that have been set up.

Figure D


In the Add Subject rule dialog box, you can enter the subject you want to filter on, for example ScreenSaver, and then select the action you want activated when the filter finds an e-mail that contains this subject. The choices are Delete (the message is automatically deleted) and Quarantine (the message is held in a quarantine, and an e-mail is sent to all Exchange administrators notifying them).

Once you specify the desired action, select the transfer mode(s) you want covered by this rule. The choices are Inbound, Outbound, Private (checks Private folders), and Public (checks Public folders). Also, in the Restrictions dialog box, you can specify whether you want certain members of the GAL to be excluded from this rule.

In Figure E, you can see the main screen for Originator Filtering. This lists all the filtering rules based on the e-mail addresses of senders who are known to spam your users.

Figure E


Figure F shows the dialog box for adding Originator Filtering rules. You configure these rules by entering an address such as *.AOL.Com. (This would filter for all e-mails coming from or going to AOL). Just as with the earlier rules, you select the transfer modes you want the rules to affect (Inbound, Outbound, Private, or Public) and specify whether you want to exclude certain members of the GAL.

Figure F


Content Filtering
Figure G shows the screen for the Content Filtering module, which consists of the Message Text Filter and Attachment Filter. The Message Text Filter can be used to look for predetermined words and/or phrases within messages. Once found, the program can then quarantine or delete the message based on how the rule is set.

Figure G


In Figure H, you can see the full list of Attachment Rules that have been set up. As far as I am aware, there is no limit to the amount of rules you can have.

Figure H


Summing up
This article has provided insight into how useful Nemx Power Tools can be for an Exchange administrator. With all the tools the product has in its arsenal, I would highly recommend it to any Exchange admin. As I mentioned above, it does all of this with very little performance hit, which is extremely important when you have a high message flow through your Exchange servers.

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