SOURCE: Cloudmark

April 21, 2008 08:00 ET

SureWest Communications Deploys Cloudmark Authority for Outbound Spam Protection

Leveraging Cloudmark's Solution, SureWest Communications Experiences Increased Outbound Filtering Accuracy, Improved Scanning Times and Reduced Administrative Costs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - April 21, 2008) - Cloudmark, Inc., the global leader in carrier-grade messaging security, today announced that SureWest Communications (NASDAQ: SURW), one of the nation's leading independent communications holding companies, headquartered in the Sacramento region, has selected Cloudmark Authority to provide outbound message filtering on the company's existing Apache SpamAssassin platform. With Cloudmark, SureWest can now more accurately identify outbound spam sent from botnets within its network to proactively block spam transmissions. In addition, with Cloudmark Authority running on SpamAssassin, SureWest has significantly reduced scan times and dramatically lowered overall CPU load while fully leveraging the company's SpamAssassin implementation.

The FBI estimates that more than one million computers in the United States are compromised by botnets, leaving Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deal with the burden of zombie computers that are used by spammers to send messages from within ISPs' networks. According to Osterman Research, nearly 100 percent of mid-sized and large organizations in North America have deployed systems to protect against inbound threats, including viruses, worms and spam; however, 47 percent of organizations still do not have any outbound filtering systems in place. As botnets proliferate and the volume of outbound spam grows, ISPs can experience issues such as significant increases in CPU loads, heavy administrative and support costs, and delays in message delivery. Outbound spam also puts ISPs at risk for being blacklisted by other service providers.

In its Northern California market, SureWest Communications is a mid-sized ISP offering voice, digital video, high-speed Internet, local and long distance telephone, and wireless PCS. In an effort to decrease resource consumption caused by spammers, as well as diminish the impact of outbound spam on its network and resources and the potential impact on its customer base, SureWest proactively sought an outbound filtering solution that could easily integrate to extend the capability of its existing SpamAssassin implementation.

"We identified outbound spam as an issue that could directly affect SureWest's Webmail subscribers and began to look for a solution that would solve the problem immediately," said Scott Barber, vice president and general manager of California operations for SureWest Communications. "It was important for us to find an effective outbound filtering solution that would plug directly into SpamAssassin with few or no changes to our current open source environment. We identified Cloudmark as an excellent fit -- not only was Cloudmark Authority for SpamAssassin fast and easy to install, the solution is able to identify surges of outbound spam quickly and proactively block these messages from leaving the network, resulting in immediate benefits. In just the first few weeks, we have seen reduced administrative costs, increased scan times and lower average loads, all of which makes our network run more smoothly while enabling us to protect our subscribers and our brand."

After evaluating several solutions, SureWest selected Cloudmark Authority for Apache SpamAssassin. Cloudmark Authority integrates seamlessly into SureWest's SpamAssassin environment and leverages all existing policies, databases and rules. The installation was completed in just 15 minutes and SureWest began to see immediate and meaningful results in both infrastructure efficiency and accuracy, including:

--  Higher Performance -- With Cloudmark, SureWest is experiencing a 15-20
    percent increase in message throughput and reduced scan times ranging from
    five to seven seconds to less than one second per message;
--  Reduced Load Averages and CPU Usage -- SureWest has seen average
    system loads per CPU reduced by half, and user space CPU usage from a peak
    at 30 percent down to less than under 20 percent, representing a dramatic
    reduction in CPU utilization;
--  Improved Filtering -- SureWest is now able to effectively process 50
    percent more messages per hour despite the reduction in physical hardware
    resulting from the company's transition to a virtualized environment. Once
    the implementation is complete, SureWest will reduce its current hardware
    requirements by 60 percent.
    

"As more computers become infected with zombies, we are beginning to see a concerted movement toward looking at both inbound and outbound e-mail filtering in order to defend against messaging threats," said Jamie de Guerre, chief technology officer of Cloudmark. "Outbound spam can cause numerous problems for network performance and the subscriber experience. By incorporating Cloudmark Authority for SpamAssassin, SureWest Communications is recognizing the very real problem of outbound spam and taking a proactive approach that effectively addresses the problem of spam being sent from within its network without the need to replace existing infrastructure. As the botnet problem continues to grow, we expect that ISPs of all sizes will recognize the need for this comprehensive approach."

Cloudmark Authority is an out-of-the-box solution, which integrates with virtually any Apache SpamAssassin environment. Like Apache SpamAssassin, Cloudmark Authority is compatible with a wide variety of e-mail systems, including procmail, sendmail, Postfix, qmail and many others. Cloudmark Authority uses a unique combination of Advanced Message Fingerprinting and corroborated reporting from the Global Threat Network to rapidly detect messaging abuse with 98 percent accuracy and near-zero false positives. Cloudmark Authority for Apache SpamAssasin offers immediate improvements in filtering accuracy and does not require customers to modify or change the open source platform. More information on Cloudmark Authority for SpamAssassin is available at: http://www.cloudmark.com/serviceproviders/authority/spamassassin/

About SureWest Communications

SureWest Communications (www.surewest.com) is one of the nation's leading integrated communications providers and is the bandwidth leader in the markets it serves under the SureWest and Everest brands. Headquartered in Northern California for more than 90 years, SureWest's bundled residential and commercial offerings include an array of advanced IP-based digital video, high-speed Internet, local and long distance telephone, and wireless PCS. Its fiber-to-the-premise IP-based network features high-definition video and symmetrical Internet speeds of up to 50 Mbps. In the greater Kansas City region, Everest (www.everestkc.com) is a network-based residential and commercial provider of voice, digital video and high-speed Internet services.

About Cloudmark

Cloudmark, Inc. is a global leader in carrier-grade messaging security, delivering the industry's fastest, most comprehensive and most accurate real-time spam, virus and phishing protection for fixed and mobile networks. Cloudmark solutions combine highly sophisticated Advanced Message Fingerprinting™ technology based on innovative, high-performance algorithms and a Global Threat Network consisting of trusted reporters in every country across the globe to provide security intelligence and filtering at all points in the messaging infrastructure. Cloudmark solutions currently protect more than 600 million mailboxes and the company works with more than 100 of the world's largest service providers and mobile operator networks (including 11 of the top 12 in North America), such as EarthLink, Comcast, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, NTT OCN and Swisscom as well as hosted messaging providers, including Synacor, domainFACTORY and NuVox. Cloudmark is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco with offices in London, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit http://www.cloudmark.com.

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