Emails from Cloud Server – Part 2

Practically Speaking About Cloud Computing:

SPAM, the root cause:

We learn that some companies have left cloud servers because of this email sending problem. Quite natural, because this is one of the important requirement from web sites or web applications! When this is not done, the whole purpose of the site gets defeated. So the concern is genuine. So, for us Cloud Technical Professionals, there is need to delve in to this problem. The root cause is SPAM. In the year 2010 it is reported that 107 trillion emails were sent at the rate 300 billion emails per day. Only about 11 percent of it was not Spam. 89% was spam. There are acts and regulations as protection. CAN-SPAM Protection Act from FTC is one of them.

CAN-SPAM Act:

The main requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act:

  • No false or misleading information including header and routing; originating domain and email is must be accurate.
  • No deceptive subject line.
  • You must disclose clearly that it is advt. mail.
  • Message must have valid location address.
  • Message must have info. On how user can opt out of this mail list-unsubscribe.
  • Opt out requests should be honored promptly.
  • Even if another marketing agency sends mail, the company on behalf it sent is responsible.

Each violation is subject to penalties up to $ 16000. The act further defines transactional email and commercial email. In addition to acts like this, there are Real Time Blacklist (RBL) Organizations like Spamhaus.

RBL:

There are various Blacklists databases and organizations each having their own techniques and methodologies to achieve the purpose. Spamhaus is one of the international organizations whose service includes blacklists and white lists. Many internet networks use Spamhaus service and an estimated 80 billion emails per day are captured by it as spam. SORBS or Spam and Open Relay Blocking system is another blacklist. A lot of email servers rely on these RBLs or real time blacklists. Once an IP address is listed in these blacklists databases, the digital world rejects the mails from them as spam.

Cloud an enabler of spam?

We do know that a lot of spam mail originates from compromised PCs called botnets or zombies. Next to these botnets, cloud accounts as the major culprit for sending mass mails. Anyone with credit card can rent the cloud machines and make them as their servers. With cloud service provider’s static ip address, these hosts are used to send bulk mail. This affects cloud hosting service provider’s reputation. Because of this situation, we can not entirely blame the blacklists maintainers. As such it is a Tom and Jerry like tricky situation between cloud service providers and the blacklists organizations chasing each other!

Let us see how a third party ESP can help in this situation, in Part III of this article.

By Malick of CloudTweaks

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