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This page provides comments about ESCOM's Active SMTP (ASMTP) technology from the following customers:


Kansas Legislature

Andy Kraus of the Kansas Legislature wrote the following letter to PC Magazine, after finding that they did not review ASMTP in a spam filtering article:

Dear Editor,

I am responding to the article, "Spam Solutions: Good Enough, but Not Perfect" by Mr. Larry J. Seltzer. It was interesting to read his reviews of the various anti-spam products. I was disappointed, however, that he did not mention the Escom Corporation's ASMTP anti-spam software.

The Kansas Legislature has been using the ASMTP software for several months, and we are very pleased with its performance. This software has 3 main functions: (1) allow a user to manage his own spam, (2) the postmaster manages the user's spam, or (3) the user "opts out" and continues to receive all messages; we are using a combination of the three methods. Before we purchased this software, we were able to try the software free for 30 days (this included complete tech support to make sure we got the software working for our environment). In my pursuit of a solution to the spam problem, I researched several of the products listed in your review. I found all of them to be inferior to the Escom product. ASMTP uses patented methods to block spam (you can read the technical specifications at www.escom.com).

I hope that you will be able to include an evaluation of Escom's ASMTP software in future issues of PC Magazine. Other companies or ISPs would benefit from hearing about this product. Before a company invests the time and money in one of the big-name products such as McAfee or Norton, they should have a chance to hear about solutions such as this.

Sincerely,
Andy Kraus

Andy Kraus, Master CNE
Senior Network Administrator
Kansas Legislature
AndyK@las.state.ks.us


Jasper Engines & Transmissions

Jasper Engines & Transmissions was founded in 1942 and today is the nation's largest mass remanufacturer of a diverse line of drive train components. Annual production includes 75,000 gas engines; 55,000 transmissions; 5,500 diesel engines; 3,000 differentials and rear axle assemblies; and 1,500 stern drives. Jasper Engines & Transmissions employs 1500 associates. Our mission statement is simple: "Do It Right and Have Fun!"

In May of 2002 we began to research solutions to the disgusting amounts of spam our corporation was receiving. We looked at managed services, blacklisting (RBL, MAPS, etc), and client side solutions:

  • Managed services turned out to be limiting and as usage scaled up, so did cost.
  • Blacklisting looked like a good option at first, however there is no control over which hosts are blacklisted.
  • Client side solutions had little central control, and most wouldn't work with our Novell GroupWise mail system. It also didn't seem very efficient to spend weeks installing disparate client side solutions.

Then we found ASMTP -- it's heuristical blocking and quarantining technology was extremely impressive, not only could we administer the inbound mail, so could individual users. The Active Filtering technology is exactly what's needed to effectively stop spam and allow legitimate email into our system. With the appliance's only requirement SMTP mail we realized instantly that we wouldn't be locked into any particular type of mail configuration or mail system.

At Jasper Engines & Transmissions we expect all our systems to run virtually non-stop. We support 2 manufacturing facilities, 2 sales/warranty call centers, 200 field salesmen, and 30 branch distribution offices. We have not turned the ASMTP appliance off for over 200 days; it has never failed to accept an email. It has performed exceptionally, blocking 99.9% of spam, which accounted for roughly 45% of our inbound email. Users send me the odd message once a week or so because it slipped by for various reasons, usually it is a legitimate email address and properly configured remote mail system. Users feel that we've claimed their mailbox back for them. We know that ESCOM is responsible.

Andy Beal, CNE, CCNP
Systems/Network Engineer
Jasper Engines & Transmissions
800-827-7455


Mo-Net

Mo-Net Inc. is an internet service provider in Southwest Missouri with 10,000 users. We've been running ESCOM's ASMTP since early 2002 and are pleased with the results. After we tested ASMTP in our network, we sent the following response to a price quote from a leading filtering bureau:

"We found a solution [ASMTP] that pretty much does what your's does for a one-time hardware/software cost of under $6000. It gives customers complete control of their mail with a web-based interface, and/or gives us control on a system-wide basis. Your cost for our size company came to over $20,000 per year. That is simply not feasible when we can do it with a one-time cost of less than 1/3 of your ANNUAL cost.

With the cost for implementing the [ASMTP] solution we are using now, we can provide it at no cost to our customers. In today's market place, that's a HUGE advantage!"

David Brittenham
System Administrator


Rainbow Studios

Rainbow Studios has been running ASMTP with Microsoft Exchange 5.5 for a number of months now, and our reduction in spam has been phenomenal. We receive tens of thousands of SMTP connections per month, and about 30% of our incoming mail is junkmail. ASMTP has worked wonders, and only a handful of spam is delivered to users - to the point where users actually forward the delivered spam messages to me. I often follow up on the messages that do make it through, something unthinkable before ASMTP. I wanted a transparent solution that works, and that's what ESCOM delivered.

Dave Favier
Network Administrator
Rainbow Studios
mailadmin@rainbowstudios.com


Object Management Group

The Object Management Group (OMG) is an industry consortium with about eight hundred organizational members, with over three thousand individual members daily using our email services. These members send mail to various mailing list aliases, where our sendmail server expands each alias to the various members of the list, and then distributes the message to its members. We often see loads in the tens of megabytes of email per month.

So when a spammer would spam one of our input address aliases, the spam could be reflected to hundreds or even thousands of individual mailboxes. This of course was exactly what the spammers wanted, and contributed to the hundreds of spam mails forwarded by our server every week. We previously used sendmail to block known IP addresses, domains, and email addresses. But this didn't work very well because the spammers would just find a new relay to forward their mail to us.

ESCOM's ASMTP does dynamic testing when the remote host connects to our network. If a remote host fails these dynamic tests, ASMTP quarantines the message (on the ASMTP Appliance) until the message can be reviewed by an administrator. This architecture is a huge win for OMG because:

  1. Dynamic testing allows us to intercept junk mail from previously unknown sources that would not be caught by static blacklisting techniques. The ASMTP appliance has cut down our spam load of hundreds of spams per week to a typical four or five per week.
  2. Because we manage our own databases based on the spam sent to our network, we do not depend on any other sites to define what we block.
  3. The quarantine architecture permits us to capture questionable mail where it can be subsequently reviewed by an an administrator. This is important because it helps ensure that we do not lose legitimate email messages from our members.
  4. Finally, ASMTP allows us to take back our email addresses from the spammers. We can use our actual addresses on mailing lists, web sites, and other locations related to our business instead of continually changing or masking addresses to try to avoid the spammers.

In addition, at our suggestion, ESCOM added the capability to block messages containing certain risky attachment file types, e.g., .BAT, .EXE, .VBS. While this is not full-blown virus detection, this mechanism easily handled the recent W32/Sircam and W32/Nimda virus attacks, none of which penetrated our defenses. These sorts of messages are quarantined where one of our administrators can review and either dispose of messages without any risk of infection, or forward messages if they are legitimate.

Installation was straightforward -- we installed the appliance on the network, changed DNS to point to the appliance as our new MX host, and it began processing mail. No changes were required to our mail server.

We don't have any comparative performance figures, but it stands to reason that by removing the junk mail from our mail server, it now has more cycles to spend handling our critical mailing list activity.

We are delighted with the ESCOM ASMTP product, and recommend it unreservedly to organizations. The low price and superb performance have made the choice simple to make based on immediate return on investment, and our decision to deploy the product has greatly increased the quality of service we can offer our customers.

Dr. Richard Mark Soley
Chairman/CEO
Object Management Group, Inc.
soley@omg.org


Grebyn Corporation

Note: This includes excerpts from Grebyn's test report. For the full report, see Barbarians at the Gate -- Stopping Spam In Its Tracks.

[During] an eight week test of the Active SMTP appliance from ESCOM Corporation ... the appliance successfully quarantined over 99.87% of the spam.

During this time there were no complaints from the users that any of their correspondents had contacted them via alternate means to inform them of their inability to send mail to them because of the use of the ASMTP appliance. (As opposed to a separate test period when it was turned OFF and one of the users complained: "I guess ASMTP hasn't been running lately, because I've gotten a burst of spam."

Karl Nyberg
karl@grebyn.com
Grebyn Corporation
703-406-4161