Spam grounded as Hawker applies filtering system

Hawker Pacific is one of Australasia's largest commercial aviation companies with its operations ranging from aeroplane sales and spare parts provision through to repairing, modifying and refurbishing aircraft and aircraft components.

The company's 430 terminals in 13 branches throughout Australia, Asia and the Middle East, should be used exclusively for sharing information among workers and suppliers.

The data on parts distribution alone is massive. The company has on file more than 200,000 line items ranging from tiny screws through to tyres and rotors that criss-cross the Pacific Rim on an as-needs basis. All data is meticulously kept to support its customers and MRO (Maintenance Report Operation) system.

However, a year ago information flow between branches was anything but smooth. The company had a major problem: spam. Robert Burns, Hawker Pacific's manager of information systems, says spam accounted for 60 percent of network traffic.

"Users were experiencing inappropriate spam," he says. "For IT, spam was flooding the network and slowing down our normal commercial traffic. It got to the point it was just painful. It was a deluge."

In response, Burns began looking around for a solution and ultimately turned to GFi. In May last year he installed GFi MailEssentials for spam filtering, and GFi MailSecurity for filtering e-mail-borne viruses, worms, and Trojans.

"GFi was easy to implement and quick," he said. "It was not a quick plug and play but it was getting close to it. At that stage we were not experts. So we needed something easy to contend with."

The software currently sits on an IBM x335 server running Windows Server 2003.

Now, more than a year on Burns says he is totally satisfied; spam is down to about 1 percent of traffic and is fully contained.

But there was another bonus. Initially Hawker Pacific was housing the GFi solution on its servers in its head office at Sydney's Bankstown Airport. This meant all e-mail traffic had to pass through those servers and then be farmed out to each of the branch offices.

However, Burns' telco provider Primus suggested it host the mail and spam filtering products on Hawker's servers in a co-location facility in the Sydney CBD.

Initially Burns, who has been the company's MIS for the past 21 years, was sceptical. "I don't like company equipment out of my control."

Now, when messages are received at the colo they are immediately sent to the branches, bypassing Bankstown and allowing Hawker to further save in bandwidth cost as it no longer has relay messages.

And this seems to work pretty well. "Ever since then I have been monumentally impressed," he says.

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