McAfee Helps the City of Denton Protect Itself Against an Onslaught of Spam

The City of Denton is a dynamic, growing north Texas college town that tops the Golden Triangle formed by itself, Ft. Worth and Dallas. Established in 1857, Denton is the county seat of Denton County and is home to two public universities: Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas, the third largest university in the State of Texas, with a combined enrollment of approximately 40,000 students.

Spam and virus volumes contribute to email backlogs
Over the past few years, Jim Avery, the City of Denton’s Senior Network Analyst, has helped to establish a city-wide email network for City employees. The new Novell network replaced many small autonomous networks. As usage grew, however, so did spam and viruses. To address the problem, Avery implemented an early version of Guinevere, which integrated well with Novell GroupWise. Despite these efforts, eventually the magnitude of the problem exceeded the capabilities of antispam software. During one weekend, the City experienced an all-time record backlog with 12,000 unprocessed emails that had to be dealt with one at a time. Avery decided it was time to find relief.

After comparing two solutions, Avery chose the McAfee SaaS Email Protection service (formerly MX Logic Email Defense Service) and implemented it in June 2004. The basic services he chose then are still protecting City employees and information today. “We always had a pretty good handle on viruses, in part because GroupWise is not very susceptible and additionally because Guinevere scans all incoming emails using our in-house anti-virus application,” says Avery. “Spam was a big problem that kept growing over time.”

McAfee’s web-based administrative portal and threat management platform enable hands-off, empowered IT administration
Avery chose McAfee because he believed the company had a better grasp of the spam problem and remedy. McAfee SaaS Email Protection works around the clock at the network perimeter to identify, quarantine, block and strip suspect email messages before they can enter the messaging infrastructure—based on customer preferences. To get McAfee SaaS Email Protection up and running, Avery simply glanced through the user and administrator manuals and set it up in approximately 20 minutes.

The McAfee Control Console, a Web-based administrative portal and threat management policy platform, supports Avery’s hands-off style. He set up basic rules, including blocks for double extensions and executable files. Day-to-day, however, users manage their own quarantined messages and create and maintain “allow and deny lists,” sometimes with a little coaching from Avery. And while the City of Denton hasn’t taken full advantage of the reporting capabilities, data is available on traffic, bandwidth, volume, user activity and events.

Immediate spam reduction of up to 80 percent
According to Avery, “We saw an immediate reduction in spam of 70 to 80 percent after the implementation of the McAfee SaaS Email Protection service. When I saw the result, I said thank you, McAfee!”

"In 2004, we were bombarded by 20,000 to 40,000 emails a day, and 80 percent was garbage. We found relief with the McAfee SaaS Email Protection service, which is a pretty cool solution and not very expensive. It’s helped us a lot."

Jim Avery
Senior Network Analyst, City of Denton, Texas

During the nearly three years that the McAfee SaaS Email Protection solution has been protecting the City of Denton, Avery has made only two or three calls for technical support. In one case, the problem turned out to be a Web hosting service interface issue that interrupted email delivery. “For our purposes, the McAfee SaaS Email Protection service is bulletproof,” reports Avery. “I haven’t heard any negative comments about it from our users, and it’s always a good day when the help desk is quiet.”

The McAfee SaaS Email Protection service has worked so well that Avery is considering an upgrade to McAfee SaaS Email Inbound Filtering (formerly MX Logic Critical Defense) to expand the City’s protection against online threats.

City of Denton

Customer profile

County seat of Denton County, home to two large public universities

Industry

City government

IT environment

City-wide email network for employees

Challenges

Reduce influx of spam

McAfee solution

  • McAfee SaaS Email Protection (formerly MX Logic Email Defense Service)

Results

  • Stops a majority of spam with few false positives. The McAfee Control Console makes it easy for administrators and users to set policies and manage online threats
  • Blocks spam
  • Enables easy-to-manage allow/deny lists
  • Provides a “bullet-proof” solution
  • Offers robust graphical reporting