Harrisonburg City Public Schools provides a curriculum for over 4,000 K-12 students in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  With a mission to prepare all students for success and to contribute to a better world, there is an unspoken worth assessment system within this school system.  When their Network Administrator set out to construct an anti-spam filter that would work for his staff of 750, there was a necessary standards system that had to be adhered to.   

Business Challenge

With a system that sends and receives in the neighborhood of 10,000 emails per day, one of the particular challenges with security amongst ever-present email is the time management piece.  There is hardly an educational employee about who will attest to having too little to do.  Dwayne Hottinger, Network Administrator at the Harrisonburg City Public Schools was no exception and with the system he had in place, could spend an entire afternoon searching for one quarantined email.

Harrisonburg was using an open source email interface system that worked extremely well, though suspect emails came into a central quarantine location for all 750 users.  Thus, much time was spent searching for emails that were falsely quarantined.  Therefore, Dwayne sought out a new antivirus server whereby users could see their quarantines and search through as needed.  SpamTitan was discovered by a simple google search and selected for the lower-level cost structure with the higher-level feature structure.

The Best Solution

With the obvious challenge of a restricted budget that a public school administrator faces, SpamTitan was able to provide a solution that gave Harrisonburg City Public Schools all the necessary features –- and then some – and fit very nicely within the budget.  SpamTitan provides an easy-to-use per-user quarantine – just the feature that Harrisonburg needed.  Administrators are given the rights to search quarantined messages, release emails as needed and to create white/blacklists for each domain.  Some of the other security providers that were investigated would have involved purchasing and installing a new server.  This was just not convenient and with SpamTitan’s ability to run on existing hardware as well as serve as its own mail transfer agent (MTA), this became a fiscally prudent decision.   

SpamTitan’s extremely simple download and deployment setup was a big bonus for the public school system.  Though Harrisonburg has a rather unique setup, including almost all open source software and an openLDAP database, the deployment was very fast.  Consisting of a simple ISO image download and CD creation, the software was then ready to install. From starting the download to plugging in the server and finishing, the entire process took no more than three hours. Tech support at SpamTitan was available and helpful for the few questions that popped up in the few days after installation.

 Strong Results

With the system in place for the past seven months, there has been a marked change in the amount of time that IT has needed to get involved in quarantine reports.  With individuals able to check and manage their own quarantine reports, there is an immediacy fulfillment for the user as well as enormous timesaving for the administrator.  Dwayne was spending half of each day every day managing spam and email — now that has been reduced by 50%.   SpamTitan has been over 98% effective in catching unwanted emails, along with a very low false-positive rate.  “I am able to concentrate more fully on other IT issues and can address potential problems in a more proactive role.  This has saved the Harrisonburg City Public School system untold problems as well as a huge amount of my time.” said Dwayne Hottinger, Network Administrator.  “I am very happy with SpamTitan.  They have just finished tweaking the kernel on my server and it is running fantastically.”

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