Recently, a new batch of software providers are touting their email security packages as 100% accurate – no spam gets through. These services employ two major methods that either:
A) Whitelists all email addresses in your address book and proceeds to move all other messages to a junk folder for your review. You can ‘rescue’ a message from the folder and thus add it to a ‘whitelist’. We refer to this method as ‘Auto-Junk Email Security’.
B) Every piece of mail sent to you requires the sender to ‘confirm’ that they really meant to send you that message. Once they confirm who they are & that they sent the message, they are added to an ‘approved’ sender list. We refer to this method as ‘Handshake Email Security’.
Services using methods such as these are NOT 100% accurate – they are essentially lying to sell their products. Spam accuracy is often measured with two factors:
- False Negatives: Spam that successfully bypassed security features of an email security solution. The terminology signifies that the solution identified the message as ‘negative’ in regards to SPAM, while the term ‘false’ indicates the solution made a mistake.
- False Positive: Valid email incorrectly identified as SPAM by an email security solution. The terminology signifies that the solution identified the message as ‘positive’ in regards to SPAM, while the term ‘false’ indicates the solution made a mistake
Handshake & Auto-Junk solutions claim they are 100% accurate on Spam protection. But that is only half the story. Using their definition, you could block all mail to an account and call it 100% accurate – but it renders the email address worthless. Specifically, these products are dishonest because they are far from 100% accurate when you consider False Positives.
For most businesses, they will always choose a less stringent email security solution to ensure that valid messages are not incorrectly marked as spam. In today’s digital market, missing an email can result in losing a deal – and upsetting a customer. This is an unacceptable risk and underscores the significance of the False Positive rating.
Email Auto-Junk solutions have a high risk of False Positives due to the following:
- If the user has a high mail volume, then they will have to sort through hundreds & even thousands of messages to locate mail that they should have received
- If the user receives mail from someone they were not expecting to get mail from, they will never know to even search the junk folders to ‘rescue’ that mail
- Many newsletters are troublesome to Auto-Junk solutions. If a user rescues the newsletter, they can’t always rescue by address since some newsletter programs send as a unique sender for each mailing.
Others also have a different ‘return to’ address than the actual sender address – making it even more confusing to the user. Lastly, if they choose to whitelist an entire domain, they may open themselves up to receive SPAM – and thus disprove the 100% effective claim even on the False Negative side.
Email Handshake Solutions have a high risk of False Positives for the following reasons:
- Users do not always recognize the request and sometimes delete the suspicious looking emails. This, in turn, ensures that the original intended recipient never gets the mail due to a False Positive marking.
- Many users have noted their disdain for handshake services and will ignore the handshake request. This can happen in situations were someone sends out an RFP to many potential vendors, but does not confirm the handshake – thus that vendor never gets the mail. This is a false positive instance
- Valid newsletters & listservs will not complete the handshake, thus leading to False Positives
In summary, no email security solution is perfect – but Swirbo prides itself on extremely low false positives and low false negatives. When we say our service is accurate, we mean it on both sides!