by David Gracey

Unsolicited email, affectionately known as “spam,” is at best an annoyance and at worst an office productivity killer.  It can, however, be controlled with a few, relatively easy steps.  (Incidentally, the term “spam” is widely believed to have been derived from the classic “Monty Python” sketch which featured Vikings singing of the virtues of eating Spam)  The most important tool to fight spam is to get a good spam filter, which does a pretty decent job of allowing only legitimate email through.  Consumer-oriented email providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Earthlink provide their own filters.  Businesses rely on more advanced spam firewalls and outside services to provide protection against the unwanted Inbox invaders.  These filters block about 90% of spam.

In addition to the basic step of getting a spam filter, here are 3 easy steps to keep your Inbox clean.

  • Stop using your business email account to sign up for online services, Internet orders and newsletters that are not business-related.  Setup a free email account from Google (Gmail) or Microsoft (Hotmail) specifically for this purpose.  Use this account whenever you purchase something online or need to provide an email address to marketers or other non-business-related entities.
  • Unsubscribe from distribution lists.  Since spam became a real problem about 7 years ago, legitimate marketing companies use the unsubscribe feature to opt out of email.  For years we told clients not to click on the unsubscribe link because it only validated the account.  No more!  Although there are a few spammers trolling for email this way, the vast majority of unsubscribe links actually work.  Especially if the email comes from Target, Amazon, or another legitimate online retailer with whom you have done business.
  • If you use Outlook, enable the Junk Mail Filter which catches what your primary filter won’t.  It’s customizable (blacklist, whitelist) and is very effective.  Just don’t forget to check it daily to ensure legitimate email wasn’t snagged.

It will take some time but once you’ve gotten into this routine, you will be able to reclaim your Inbox.

Network 1 Consulting is a 14-year-old, IT Support company in Atlanta, GA.  We become – or augment – the IT department for professional services companies: law firms, medical practices and financial services firms.  Our IT experts can fix computers – but what our clients really value is the industry-specific best practices we bring to their firm.  This is especially important with technology, along with regulations and cyber threats, changing so rapidly.  We take a proactive approach to helping our clients use technology to gain and keep their competitive advantage.

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