At the World Wildlife Fund, we were choking on spam and knew we had to act.
In addition to reducing our inbound spam, we wanted to reduce the traffic flowing through our Internet connections to our headquarters and our international field offices. At the time, Internet use at our Washington headquarters was running close to capacity—at the 95th percentile—as a result of migrating some of our internal systems to ASPs, greater use of FTP services, and a general increase in Internet use and e-mail. The WWF team in Washington manages international field offices in locations such as Nepal, Bhutan, Peru, Costa Rica and Bolivia, where Internet bandwidth is limited and expensive—all the more reason to cut spam.
In December 2003, we selected an ASP; signed a contract; and started a 60-day, no-fee pilot to analyze and fix the problem. We found that 43.5 percent of all inbound e-mail was spam. During the pilot, we experienced some service disruptions and application problems because the application was new. After extending the pilot for five months, I pulled the plug and engaged with Postini to start a second pilot. Over the next 60 days, we tested the Postini Perimeter Manager and added perimeter anti-virus e-mail scanning to complement our internal anti-virus efforts and strategy. The WWF U.S. IT Network Services staff members tested access to individual secure Web portals, where they were able to review and forward e-mails that had been falsely identified as spam.
After concluding that the Postini service performed well and met our high expectations, we launched the service to all staff at our Washington headquarters in July. Deployment was simple and required no formal user training. In addition, by containing contaminated e-mail messages before they hit our Internet pipes, combined with aggressive Internet filtering, we decreased Internet usage by 50 percent.
Last month, I expanded the Postini solution to our international field offices. Our IT team will retain full control over global settings for each field office, while permitting those offices to manage their own e-mail domains, accounts and user portals.
The ASP option eliminated the need to purchase additional hardware and software at each of our locations worldwide and eliminated the IT labor cost of keeping an internal solution patched and up-to-date. These extensive savings, along with increased Internet bandwidth at each location, allow WWF to meet important conservation challenges with cost-effective IT solutions.
Gregory Smith is vice president and CIO of the World Wildlife Fund. He is also an eWEEK Corporate Partner and an adjunct faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. He can be reached at [email protected]. Free Spectrum is a forum for the IT community and welcomes submissions at [email protected].