Exchange Online Protection Receives Spam-Fighting Upgrades

Microsoft's cloud-based enterprise email security product gets enhancements that make it tougher to spam corporate networks.

Exchange Online Protection, Microsoft's cloud-based malware-busting, anti-spam email protection offering, has new tools that help organizations safeguard their users' inboxes, announced Microsoft Product Manager Shobhit Sahay.

The new enhancements include junk mail reporting for Outlook Web App (OWA). "OWA Junk mail reporting will now allow OWA users to move missed spam in the inbox or legitimate mail in the junk mail folder to the correct location and report the message to Microsoft with a few clicks," wrote Sahay in a Feb. 13 blog post.

Users can also report false negatives or false positives by clicking on the additional options menu (an ellipsis) that appears near the top of an email or by right-clicking on a message. The few moments it takes for spam detection will keep inboxes cleaner over the long haul, asserted Sahay. "Exchange Online Protection (EOP), the mail protection service included with Office 365, relies on these submissions to improve the accuracy of the junk mail filter, which means less junk in your inbox in the future."

Microsoft previewed new options that provide more in-depth mail protection reports for Exchange Online and Exchange Online Protection. After a spring update, report links will trigger an interactive window that administrators can use to explore interactive charts that display summary-level information.

Users can click on specific points to drill down to detailed information on spam detections, including type, recipients and senders. A new request feature generates reports on spam detections that are older than seven days.

Also new is directory-based edge blocking (DBEB), which allows organizations "to reject messages for invalid recipients at the service network perimeter," informed Sahay. Messages sent to valid Azure Active Directory addresses are processed, filtered for spam and malware, and ultimately delivered. Otherwise, Exchange Online Protection blocks the emails prior to filtering and issues the sender a non-delivery report.

In addition, Microsoft is upping the Office 365 domain limit by 50 percent, from 600 to 900 domains. Exchange Online Protection and Exchange Online administrator can also now run message traces for the last 90 days.

"We're currently deploying an update that will allow EOP standard tenants to use remote PowerShell to manage their EOP settings," added Sahay. "After deployment, EOP standard tenants can use the extensive scripting power of PowerShell to automate a wide variety of management tasks."

Remote PowerShell allows administrators to add or modify transport rules and connectors, search transport rules and change anti-malware and anti-spam filtering settings. Soon, Microsoft plans to enable user and group management.

More features are in the works, said Sahay. They include end-user access to quarantine, enhanced support for IPV6, DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and match subdomains.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...