Hosted e-mail solution reduces spam onslaught

Council tackles support-heavy VPN

Redcliffe City Council has stemmed its surge of spam and freed-up maintenance technicians by replacing its Lotus Notes e-mail client with a managed software-as-a-service (SAAS) solution.

The South Queensland-based council, which serves more than 50,000 residents, searched late last year for a solution which could reduce the 50 spam e-mails its 288 employees were receiving each day, while maintaining a neutral budget.

Redcliffe City Council information systems manager, John Mulcahy, said its six IT employees searched for a solution which could reduce spam, remove the need for future spend in e-mail, and remove its troublesome VPN while still provisioning remote access.

"The 30 to 50 spam e-mails each person received daily has been reduced to one to three and now employees can respond more quickly to our ratepayer enquiries rather than sifting through spam," Mulcahy said.

"The solution costs about $1 a day per employee, and it has a terrific budget benefit as it is totally based on operational cost rather than capital.

"We are pleased with the solution and with the efficient conversion and migration of historic data and we may look at outsourcing other applications in future."

A developer employed to maintain the Lotus Notes mail system reported that the application was becoming less compatible with council systems and that there was ongoing support issues.

Meanwhile, the councils' support-heavy VPN was preventing IT from focusing on business analysis.

The council's six IT employees were further burdened by the need to create customized rules to slow the spam surge.

Recliffe City Council went live with a Hosted Exchange e-mail solution from SAAS vendor Emantra and an e-mail filter from NetBoxBlue which could run on its dedicated Microsoft Exchange 2003 servers.

The solution provides the council with 300 mailboxes, a 99 percent SLA for server, application and connectivity and software licensing, 24x7 monitoring and support, remote access through a Web-based control panel, and immediate patching and daily backup.

The council has plans to upgrade to Microsoft Exchange 2007 in the shorter term.

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