With the sending of mails revolutionized by the e-mail system, e-mail users may have solved the problem associated with snail mails, but at the same time, face a common problem of seeing not only suspicious or spam, but also, annoying e-mails on the inbox.
While today, most e-mail servers have a way of detecting spam, which automatically goes to the spam folder, there are other non-spam e-mails which for some should have better been sent to other designated folders, the moment they reach the designated e-mail address. Such is the functionality of an e-mail filter.
Organizing the e-mail Inbox
An e-mail filter is a built-in e-mail server program designed to automatically scanning an incoming e-mail for any suspicious or harmful contents. e-mail filtering is an approach to managing e-mails and have them arranged automatically as soon as they come.
In e-mail filtering, an e-mail user uses specified criteria (which vary depending on the e-mail server used) in labelling an incoming e-mail. Once the criteria are set, the system will automatically act on any incoming e-mail and proceed according to the e-mail user’s preferences such as archiving, deletion, or going straight (or redirect delivery) to a certain folder created for such e-mail. Almost all e-mail servers enable the users to create folders and sub-folders with customized label or name.
Generally, the criteria include the sender’s e-mail address, the subject of the e-mail, some keywords that are used in the body of the e-mail, or the nature of the e-mail sent. In the latter, it could be promotional or social, among others.
Spam e-mails are easily detected by the e-mail server’s program and thus, go to the spam folder automatically.
Other Benefits of Creating e-mail Filters
Spam mails, which may proliferate and clutter up the inboxes, are best deterred using e-mail filters. While there are e-mails that have harmful contents apparent and thus, easily detected, some e-mails are craftily composed to pass the standard scanning program of most e-mail servers. For this matter, e-mail users have the power to label as spam an e-mail which for some reasons, have found its way into the inbox. Once an e-mail is labelled as spam, all future e-mails from the same sender are automatically redirected to the spam folder.
Another benefit is simply to clear up the inbox, and have all other specifically labelled or filtered e-mails to be delivered straight to their designated folders, for later reading.
Inbound and Outbound e-mail Filters
e-mail filters can function both on inbound and outbound mails. The inbound e-mail filter works as has been described in the above sub-heading. The outbound e-mail filter works by scanning the message being drafted for any potential harm before it is sent to a recipient. The outbound e-mail filter, too, is available in almost all e-mail servers today.
Specialized Mail Transfer Agents proxies or simply SMTP is a common approached used by most Internet Service Providers (ISP) in filtering outbound e-mail traffic. The SMTP proxies intercept and filter e-mails through transparent proxies within a network.
Other corporations use the technology of Data Leak Prevention for their employees’ outbound mail server to deter leakage of information through e-mails.