Westbus hits the road with spam solution

Sydney's largest private bus operator Westbus has just completed an implementation that has cut spam by 85 percent and blocked 95 percent of non-productive URLs.

The company's IT manager Michael Hanna admits the company had a productivity problem associated with spam as well as inappropriate Web use that needed to be addressed. The company provides transport services to more than 12 million full-fare customers and nine million school children.

"We had a variety of problems, the number one problem being unauthorised Web use," Hanna said.

"Westbus was averaging between 1800 and 2000 spam, hoax or virus e-mails every week to staff desktops. This was having a large negative impact on productivity."

In addition, many of the company's desktops were infected with spyware programs that chewed up bandwidth and lowered staff productivity.

After reviewing the Westbus IT systems policy on the use of PCs and the Internet, Hanna evaluated antispam and URL blocking technologies.

He checked out most offerings before selecting Computer Associate's eTrust Secure Content Manager (SCM).

The implementation was completed within a fortnight and Hanna says the company is blocking 8000 URLs and 160,000 requests for Web sites per week.

"Because eTrust SCM includes a proxy server, we retired our Microsoft Proxy Server and now exclusively use the CA proxy server in SCM," Hanna said.

"With the proxy server functionality, antispam, antivirus, URL blocking and content filtering all being done by eTrust SCM on one server, we've saved about $22,000 a year in terms of software licences, training and maintenance.

"We now have an integrated and effective content security solution that has boosted productivity," he said, adding that a conservative estimate of the lift in computer-based productivity would be 10 percent.