McAfee Helps The SALT Group Keep Communication Flowing

The SALT Group™ is a privately held financial consulting firm based in Kerrville, Texas that helps manufacturing companies recover overpaid sales and use taxes. Since its inception in 1988, The SALT Group has become a leading force in the state and local tax recovery industry. Its 75 employees and consultants working throughout the country are seasoned tax professionals who perform reviews to maximize each client’s refund. The SALT Group relies on an IT department of two in order to keep their systems running smoothly.

Email—The Key to Productivity
The SALT Group has 100 employees total, with 25 employees in its corporate office in Texas and everyone else dispersed throughout the country, traveling from one client site to another. Email is a critical means of communication for the entire company, particularly for those who are out in the field. With email use comes the risk of spam and its potential to carry viruses, phishing exploits, and other malware.

“Basically, email is the only form of communication that we have,” says Deborah Slizewski, IT manager for The SALT Group. “I could not imagine having to tell all my users the system is down for the day because of a malicious attack. That would halt our production, and we can’t have that. We’re a multimillion dollar company that relies on email as our standard form of communication. I simply cannot turn off my email system.”

Cost-Effective McAfee SaaS Spam Protection Is Easy to Configure and Manage
Protection against spam was one of Slizewski’s number one concerns, so when she installed a Microsoft Exchange Server several years ago, she also deployed McAfee® SaaS Email Protection & Continuity. Thanks to McAfee SaaS Email Protection, The SALT Group didn’t have to invest in equipment or expertise to get high-performance spam protection. Additionally, they spend no time on maintenance or updates. The company leverages the email security experts at McAfee to protect all of its employees’ emails, whether the employees are in the office or on the road.

“Because of our specialty, we get a lot of email—from news groups, for example—that might otherwise be considered junk mail, but we actually want it,” explains Slizewski. “But then there are things like advertisements that we definitely don’t want to filter into our inboxes. McAfee catches all of it and puts it in quarantine for us to review so that we can determine if it’s legitimate or spam. I’m very pleased with the accuracy of the quarantine.”

In terms of managing the quarantined email, employees get notification emails when an email is flagged. They then can determine whether an email is legitimate. Unanswered notifications go into the quarantine, which Slizewski monitors and cleans up a couple of times a week using the McAfee Control Console, a web-based administrative tool that provides multiple levels of security, accessibility, and configurations depending on several standard entities and roles. Through the control console, she determines what needs to be released to the users and deletes the rest—a process that gives her the opportunity to see what emails are being stalled when they should really be released, so that she can add them to her allow list for automatic delivery. “The fact that I can allow or deny a particular domain or email address is great. It’s just the kind of control I need,” Slizewski declares.

In fact, being able to manage the service on her own is one of the things Slizewski appreciates most about the McAfee SaaS solution. With the control console, she can manage administrators, domains, and users and configure and monitor the email protection and email archiving features.

“Email protection is something I don’t want to have to worry about. I need to feel 100 percent comfortable that we’re 100 percent protected all the time. And with McAfee, I definitely do.”

Deborah Slizewski
IT Manager, The SALT Group

Archiving Ensures that Important Emails are Never Lost
The SALT Group also uses McAfee SaaS Email Archiving to ensure redundant backup of every email. Before implementing the Exchange Server, end users were responsible for backing up their own emails to a master email account that Slizewski created as a workaround because the old email server didn’t support archiving. It was a cumbersome system that was not very reliable, and it was an inefficient way to manage and retain important emails since end users were responsible for their own backup.

Since installing the Exchange Server and the McAfee solution, however, Slizewski no longer worries about being able to find important emails. Not only is the primary archiving function built into the Exchange Server, but McAfee SaaS Email Archiving serves as a backup, a function that’s especially helpful when it comes to old emails.

Because some of their customer cases go to court, occasionally there is a need to retrieve an email that is two or three years old. Though it’s not stipulated by law, The SALT Group likes to keep records for a period of seven years, and storing seven years’ worth of email would be difficult to do without the McAfee solution. With the search feature, emails are easily accessible in seconds. “The biggest benefit is knowing I have multiple sources of storage so that if for some reason I can’t find it on my end, I know McAfee will have it on their end,” Slizewski proclaims. “The fact that I know I can find what I need gives me peace of mind.”

Technicians Speak the Customer’s Language
The setup process went smoothly except for one glitch that was unrelated to McAfee. Even so, a McAfee support technician helped Slizewski resolve the issue and complete the setup. In fact, customer support is another key area where McAfee earns high marks.

“Whenever I’ve needed technical support, the techs have been immediately responsive, very professional, extremely helpful, and spot on,” Slizewski states. “And they don’t talk over my head, which I really appreciate.”

Operating with Complete Confidence
With the McAfee SaaS Email Protection and McAfee SaaS Email Archiving, The SALT Group gets uninterrupted productivity and the peace of mind knowing they may be spammed but won’t be impacted—and they’ll always be able to recover their email, whether it’s for a mass restore or for a court case. And because it’s McAfee SaaS, they get world-class email security with no hardware or software to buy, no backups to run, and no maintenance to perform, saving money and freeing up resources to focus on more strategic tasks.

Slizewski said McAfee SaaS Email Protection service is the first and only managed service her company uses for its network.

“A lot of the other things we can do in-house,” Slizewski notes. “But email protection is something I don’t want to have to worry about. I need to feel 100 percent comfortable that we’re 100 percent protected all the time. And with McAfee, I definitely do.”

The SALT Group

Customer profile

Financial consulting firm specializing in recovering overpaid sales and use taxes

Industry

Financial services

IT environment

Email network for 100 employees working nationwide

Challenges

Manage spam efficiently while safely archiving seven years’ worth of email with fast email discovery

McAfee solution

  • McAfee SaaS Email Protection
  • McAfee SaaS Email Archiving

Results

  • Protected email for all employees, whether they’re in the office or on the road
  • Blocked spam and quarantines questionable emails with accuracy
  • Enabled easy quarantine management and allowed/denied lists through the McAfee Control Console
  • Provided redundant backup for seven years’ worth of emails
  • Eliminated investment in hardware and maintenance thanks to McAfee Security-as-a-Service (Security SaaS) solutions