In addition to the thousands of companies and schools that go Google every day, more and more non-profit organizations are choosing Google Apps to help remove the cost and complexity associated with traditional IT, which can often challenge the limited resources of 501(c)3 organizations.

Learn more about the special discounts available for accredited organizations with Google Apps for Non-Profits and read about how USA Water Polo made the switch to Apps and was able to provide 35,000 staff, volunteers, and players with improved email and collaboration tools while re-allocating costs toward funding for their players, teams and members.

Google Apps helps organizations of all kinds improve the way they work by minimizing on-premise hardware, increasing uptime, and making it easy for users to get productive fast. This is especially helpful for non-profit organizations, who can direct their focus away from IT maintenance and put their talents toward what they do best: doing good.

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps for Education and Non-Profit teams


Editor's note: Today's guest blogger is Benjamin Doyle, Information Systems Administrator for Alta Planning + Design, a company that combines the skills of planning, design, landscape architecture and engineering to create bicycle, pedestrian, greenway, and trail projects for communities. With headquarters in Portland, Oregon, Alta has a total of 12 offices across the United States.

Benjamin talks about choosing Google Apps over both hosted and in-house Microsoft Exchange.

Scalability, without complexity Alta has 60 employees and we’re growing rapidly. We knew we needed something that could scale up without bogging us down with decisions on hardware, upgrades, and maintenance. We also needed portability and easy collaboration because our employees are constantly on the go, visiting the communities we work with around the globe. We were pretty sure we didn’t want the headache and constant maintenance of an in-house system.

Our previous email system – provided free through our website host – couldn't keep up with our needs for reliability and ease of access. Messages were downloaded to individual computers, limiting remote access and making archiving near impossible. It also left us without a way to have a shared calendar solution accessible to all our users in all offices (many of us were already using Google Calendar), and it made sense to choose a service which so cleanly integrates calendars with e-mail.

Savings We compared hosted Microsoft Exchange, in-house Microsoft Exchange, and Google Apps Premier Edition – plus their associated operating costs – and Google Apps came out way below the other alternatives cost-wise, yet provided all the functionality we were after.

Google Apps was projected to save us about 62% in the first year over setting up an in-house Exchange server and 67% annual savings compared to hosted Microsoft Exchange. For a business with no prior communications budget to speak of, Google Apps was a huge advantage that provided great cost savings.

Many unexpected benefits Google Apps was virtually painless to implement, and it’s given us fast, reliable communication and collaboration. Spread out among 12 offices, there's not another solution on the market we know of that pulls together all the tools we need as well as Google Apps. We’re pretty much using the full gamut of capabilities: Gmail, Google's instant messaging, Google Calendar, Google Sites, Google Video and Google Docs. We use the web mail interface to keep things simple.

Communication via integrated voice the video chat was an unexpected boon for us – it’s widely popular for our network of offices as a way of quickly sharing information without having to pick up the phone. We were able to create a more reliable and accessible intranet with Google Sites than we could have done with other tools.

Being able to access our documents and other data from almost any browser is also great since we all travel so much. Everyone has access to mail and calendars with their mobile devices, and they can go from their workstation to a travel laptop seamlessly.

What’s great is that Google offers constant improvement and development. New features are introduced on an ongoing basis. Some of the extra features included in Google Apps aren't available with other services. I keep up on the new features by subscribing to Apps Update Alerts (RSS feed or email alerts). Because updates and improvements are implemented by Google, and not on on-premise servers, it's fewer "off hours" working hours for me.

Our IT budget has been able to shift more dollars into data storage and networking – money that would have otherwise been spent on a mail server and user applications. Plus, with Google keeping our mail and intranet secure and running with a 99+% up time guarantee, we have less to worry about and more time to spend on other important projects. Since our information is flowing quicker between users through a range of mediums, and our users have no trouble accessing communication and internal resources on the go.

- Benjamin Doyle, Information Systems Administrator, Alta Planning + Design

Posted by Serena Satyasai, The Google Apps Team

Find customer stories and product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

Earlier this year, we announced support for Rich Snippets in Google Site Search results. If you provide in-page metadata markup via RDFa, Microformats, or PageMaps, Google Site Search extracts the metadata and returns it as PageMaps in your XML results, so you can render this structured data in your search results. Rich snippets enable website owners to customize the user interface and expose images, ratings, authors and other interesting pieces of metadata with search results.

Today, metadata support in Google Site Search just got a whole lot better. We now provide the ability for website owners to use these metadata attributes and provide refinement options on the front-end.

For example, website owners can build a rich search interface that not only allows users to search on keywords but also refine the search results based on the author of the document, user rating or othermetadata attributes.

We've enabled a way for you to restrict your search results via use of a special operator. Let's say that you wanted to restrict the results to those results that were authored by a specific author, e.g., "typicaluser". We can do this easily by adding the following restriction in our search query: [economy more:pagemap:document-author:typicaluser]. This gives us exactly what we want – all of the documents with keyword economy and authored by "typicaluser".

We've also recently launched a Rich Snippet preview tool. This tool allows you to view not only the Rich Snippets markup recognized for Google web search, but also the additional customized markup that we support in Google Site Search. You can immediately preview how your web page will be processed after indexing, and whatmetadata attributes will be returned in PageMaps in your Google Site Search results.

For more information on Google Site Search, please visit Google Site Search.

Posted by Nitin Mangtani, Lead Product Manager, Google Enterprise Search

When we launched Google Search Appliance 6.0 in June we introduced a brand new architecture, (GSA)n. The GSA now lets organizations search over a billion documents, and we are constantly looking to develop on (GSA)n even further. In that vein, our engineers have been working feverishly to build more capabilities and ease of use into the appliance. Today we're announcing more than 10 new features available on the GSA from Google Enterprise, including one that automatically improves results over time, the Self-Learning Scorer. Take a look here:

Self-Learning Scorer analyzes employee clicks and behavior to automatically fine-tune and improve its built-in relevance. For instance, if most users click on the fourth result for a given query, the GSA recognizes that and automatically boosts its placement – without any intervention from an administrator. Along with our existing and intuitive biasing features and Ranking Framework, this provides ease of relevance tuning.

Most enterprise search engines do three things: crawl, index and serve. With the new Self-learning Scorer, we're adding a new step to the mix: analysis. As the GSA continually serves up results, it's also learning to dynamically improve – automatically. This gives the GSA new self-improving intelligence, and adds a new step to the enterprise search cycle.

With this release, we're adding a new login feature, which provides a simple approach to securely mapping user credentials to the various back-end systems within an organization. Many larger organizations may have not one, but several 'single sign-on' systems, so this new universal login feature minimizes the number of logins for the user when performing an internal search across all company systems.

Today we're also expanding connectivity to a myriad of systems, including content management systems, file shares and databases. We are newly providing native integration for SharePoint out of the box, making indexing of SharePoint content 10x faster. Second, we are providing connectivity to Lotus Notes through Enterprise Labs. Third, we are expanding our support for file shares and databases, so organizations can connect to any file share or database in any format. The new GSA is built to be easier for users and admins – these connectors will make everyone in the office's life easer. We're also expanding the connectors program in our Enterprise Labs, live here.

These are just a couple of the product updates – you can learn about all the new features in this video too. Getting IT admins away from the tuning knobs and back to their real jobs will be a major benefit to our customers. More importantly, it will make employees across the company more productive. When internal search results improve, employees actually search more and find more information with which to do their work. You can read more about this on our blogpost, from a major US pharmaceutical company tracking the number of employee searches over time. After deploying the GSA, employees actually used their internal network significantly more – simply because it worked better.

Enterprise search isn't just about ECMs, connectors and security – it's about utilization. More relevant search results mean more employees utilizing the tools of their trade. Today's GSA update brings the search appliance into the realm of constant innovation – and self-improving intelligence. You can learn more about how the GSA adds the analytical step to the enterprise search cycle at GSA at

Posted by
Cyrus Mistry, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Search

Editor's Note:
We're pleased to welcome guest blogger Peter Herrmann, solution architect, Information Technology Department, at Mortgage Choice Limited. Peter led the development of the business case to switch Mortgage Choice to Google, and is project manager and tech lead for the organization-wide deployment of Google Apps. Peter has been working with Mortgage Choice for eight years and has been involved with IT strategy, consulting to internal business units, implementation, migrations, integration and lifecycle for many systems at Mortgage Choice.

Peter has a background in messaging and collaboration technologies and still remembers his delight in getting messages to flow (in 1992) between islands of Lotus Notes, cc:Mail,
MS Mail (Windows & Mac), Memo (a mainframe based email system) and MHS (from Novell) during a proof of concept integration he did for a large multinational.

Mortgage Choice, Australia's largest independently-owned mortgage broker, was established in 1992 and operates a franchise-based business model. We have over 1,000 users operating from around 350 locations across Australia.

The Australian mortgage broking industry has undergone a period of significant change and consolidation. In this challenging environment, the ability to scale both up and out while improving our business systems and resources, along with keeping a steady cost base, is critical to growing and strengthening our business.

In IT, we are constantly challenged by the ongoing overhead of installing, upgrading, storing, supporting and maintaining installed software across a geographically dispersed environment.
Prior to our transition to Google Apps, we diligently kept our users' software up-to-date and met system and service SLAs, but simply meeting our service obligations does not necessarily add value! At the end of the day, after buying, running and maintaining our infrastructure and software, our capacity to really add value through innovation was constrained by resource limitations.

By late 2008, with a newly reinvigorated IT strategy taking shape, the Google Apps platform was right in focus. We developed a business case for Google Apps, focusing on the benefits of simplicity (no installed software), choice (access anywhere anytime from any Internet connected device), scalability (growth with a variable cost base) and user happiness (great user experience from modern apps evolved from massive consumer driven input).

During mid-2009, Mortgage Choice ran an initial deployment of Google Apps (Mail, Calendar and Chat) for some 70 users across the country. We used Google Sites for FAQs, feedback forums and spreadsheet forms for polls to get regular user feedback. This was used to continuously improve our change management, communication, migration and support processes and collateral.

At completion of the initial deployment, 91% of users recommended we roll-out Google Apps to the entire organisation. The results also reinforced our IT strategy imperatives to "provide the business with a technology environment that is scalable, flexible, simple to use, leverages modern and emerging technologies and provides users with choice".

Even now, as we roll out to the rest of the organization, we're seeing immediate benefits outside the original project focus of Mail, Calendar and Chat. Users are adopting other Google Apps, such as Google Docs, for collaboration in real time with co-workers and business partners. They're building forms based workflows for their business processes, and have used Google Sites and Google Video to deliver specific on-demand training websites and online manuals.

This innovation is taking place organically at the initiative of users and without the requirement for traditional IT involvement or assistance. Furthermore, it has come at no additional cost and at a pace chosen by the initiators.

Since we've "gone Google", we are seeing tangible benefits from adopting Google Apps across the organisation and we expect this to increase as our people - an increasingly mobile workforce - leverage the platform further in future.

– Peter Herrmann, solution architect, Mortgage Choice Limited

In August, we asked you share your your stories about why you or your company decided to "go Google" – in another words, switch to Google Apps or any of our other enterprise services. We were excited to see your tweets about going Google, feedback about our products, and even a few photos of our billboards.

Over 2 million companies and 20 million users have now gone Google with Apps, and today, we're expanding our messages to train stations, business publications, billboards, and airports in the U.S. as well as in the U.K., France, Japan, Australia, and Singapore. Check out the Official Google Blog to learn more about the latest in the "going Google" momentum and see a preview of our new global campaign.

If you haven't had a chance to tell us why your company went Google, we invite you to submit a short video to tell us your story, or let us know via Twitter using the hashtag #goneGoogle.

And if you need a bit of inspiration, check out what some of our current customers have to say about going Google:

Posted by Vivian Leung, Google Apps team

If you are actively considering Google Apps as part of your next-generation messaging strategy or just starting to learn more about cloud computing, you – and your boss – no doubt have questions about the technical details of moving into the cloud.

Whether you are switching from Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes/Domino, you may wonder about what it takes to change your DNS and mail settings, and what to do to set up both POP and IMAP mail. You may also have questions about how to support your mobile device users, or end users who must use a local client such as Microsoft Outlook, or about directory sync tools, APIs and which migration tools and services best meet your needs. Above all, you want to avoid mistakes or pitfalls that could cost your company time and money.

The list of technical details and questions can seem overwhelming, but our customers tell us repeatedly that with advanced planning migration to the cloud can be accomplished quickly – and with minimal business disruption.

On October 22, we invite you to learn from members of our Google Apps Deployment Team. They work in the field, hand-in-hand with Apps customers, and have a wealth of experience, as well as some insider tips and tricks to help migrations to Apps go as smoothly as possible.

Migration experts Jim Copeland, Dan Kennedy, and Marcello Pederson will host a live webcast, “Geek Out on The Technical Details of a Google Apps Migration,” that will help you with the nitty-gritty details of moving into the cloud and answer your technical questions.

Our expert panelists include:

Jim Copeland Jim works with Google Apps customers on best practices for deployment and migration. He has been at Google for four years with a background in the legal, financial, and publishing industries.

Dan Kennedy Dan worked for over 10 years as a Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory administrator before coming to work with Google Apps customers via Google's acquisition of Postini. Dan specializes in large deployments where customers require interoperability between systems.

Marcello Pedersen Marcello works with Google Apps customers on a wide range of technical issues such as API usage, SAML/SSO implementations, and complex engineering questions.

Join our live webcast on October 22, 2009 to learn from our experts on the front lines who are helping customers with their Google Apps deployments.

Geek Out on The Technical Details of a Google Apps Migration
Thursday, October 22, 2009
2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT / 6:00 p.m GMT

Register today.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

September was a big month for Google Apps Education Edition as everyone headed back to school. When we announced five million active users in early September, we didn't expect that it would only be about a month before we would announce that more than six million students, staff, and faculty at schools worldwide are now actively using Google Apps at school.

We talk a lot about what students want and need (and we also try to learn from them as much as possible), but it's important to remember that these six million users aren't only students – they are also faculty and staff members using Google Apps technology in education.

The cloud is all about collaboration, and this means not only students working together, but also students working with their teachers and professors to improve learning outcomes and save time. Using internet-based solutions like Google Apps to enhance the cycle of lesson, evaluation, and adjustment can shorten what used to take days or weeks into minutes, and collaborating in the cloud helps educators connect more effectively with students.

There are lots of examples we're seeing crop up on campuses. For example New York City's Intermediate School 339 ensured clear communication between students, teachers, and the community by moving the entire campus to Google Apps, and taking advantage of features like forms in Google Docs to create real-time quizzes helped to double Math performance scores, increase attendance, and build student engagement.

And, after Boise State University migrated their 2,400 faculty and staff to Google Apps, not only were they able to foster better collaboration between students and staff, but they reduced costs for IT infrastructure, support, and maintenance by $90,000 annually.

Other schools that have chosen Google Apps for their faculty and staff include Temple University, Columbus State University, Abilene Christian University,
Macalester College, Manhattan College, Mary Baldwin College, Northeastern State University, and Saint Louis University (including 8,500 staff from their Medical Center and Hospital).

We strongly believe that when all education users - from students to professors to school administrators - have access to cloud-based tools and aren't limited by where or when they work, it enhances their ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. So come on, Go Google and join these schools (and many others) in the cloud with Google Apps.

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps Education Edition team

Learn more about what's possible for your school with Google Apps Education Edition.

Teams of coworkers often work on projects involving dozens – sometimes hundreds – of files, like documents, spreadsheets and presentations. As new materials are created and as teams grow and evolve, making sure the right people have access to the latest set of files has been a big challenge.

Today, this is changing with shared folders in Google Docs. Now you can assign viewers and editors to entire folders. Coworkers with access to a folder automatically have access to all the documents, spreadsheets, presentations and PDF contained in it, even as files are added or removed over time. This has been a top requested feature from Google Apps customers, so this an exciting development.

We're also launching the ability to select multiple files to upload in one step. Next time you have a batch of files saved on your computer that you want to collaborate on with coworkers from anywhere, give it a try.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

Get timely updates on new features in Google Apps by subscribing to our RSS feed or email alerts.

Last month, we announced that over 5 million students were actively using Google Apps Education Edition. Today, we're pleased to note that several noteworthy universities in the UK have joined this growing movement by announcing plans to deploy Google Apps for the coming academic year.

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, the University of Portsmouth and De Montfort University are the latest to sign on with Google Apps, joining established UK Apps users like the University of Westminster and Leeds Met.

We recently mapped Google Apps' adoption in schools across the globe, but we think it's just as interesting to hear how students from the University of Portsmouth are logging in from 26 countries in 10 languages while studying abroad – all in the first month of using Apps. With tools like integrated video chat and real-time collaboration, Google Apps are working in the cloud to make the world a little bit smaller, while making campuses larger than ever.

To read more about UK universities that have gone Google, click here.

Posted by Jason Cook, Google Apps Education Edition team

Learn more about what's possible for your school with Google Apps Education Edition.

Google recently sponsored a global, multi-industry research project surveying 1,125 IT decision-makers and their perceptions about cloud computing and the key drivers behind the growth of cloud-based IT solutions.

We're sharing the results of the study in a new whitepaper: the Google Communications Intelligence Report. The findings provide some insights on what types of organizations are moving to the cloud, what value they find there, and what the key drivers for and barriers to adoption are. Some of the key takeaways follow:
  • More than 60% of respondents indicated that the IT department holds the majority of the responsibility for communications security and compliance, but fewer than 20% feel they are well equipped to handle it.
  • Email security, web security, and messaging are the cloud applications most widely adopted, and organizations using these applications in the cloud report higher satisfaction than users of traditional platforms.
  • Ease of use is cited as the key motivator for transitioning to cloud-based applications.
  • Although price is mentioned as a key deterrent for respondents who are not yet using cloud-based apps, value is cited as a key benefit by respondents who already work in the cloud.
In these findings – and in our conversations with businesses of all types and sizes – we are seeing that more and more businesses are finding enhanced productivity and IT efficiency when they move their applications to the cloud with services such as Postini or Google Apps. That the cloud movement is more than just a trend is validated by our research findings, which indicate that 50% of the respondents who were aware of but not currently using cloud-based apps are planning to deploy a cloud solution within the next 12 months.

Read more about how your organization (or business) might benefit from the research in the Communication Intelligence Report.

Posted by Adam Swidler, Google Postini Services team

Today we announced significant changes to Google Maps base map data in the US. Read the details on what's new on the LatLong blog, here.

If you're a Google Maps API Premier customer, the Geo Developer blog
has all the info you need
regarding this change and the Maps API for your business. The new base map will have expanded features, and a shorter feedback cycle for Maps updates – all leading to better, more accurate maps for employees and customers.

Learn more about the Google Maps API Premier at

Posted by Dan Chu, Product Manager, Google Enterprise team

Do you know how much your email system is costing you? More than just the necessary hardware and software systems, email also requires substantial time and money for maintenance and upkeep. In-house email calls for patches, precautions to maintain high availability and disaster recovery, and the never-ending work it takes to secure and protect email from spam, phishing, and malware.

In a September 2009 study, Osterman Research found that decision makers typically underestimate the cost of providing messaging services. According to Osterman, one-quarter of decision makers believe that their organizations spend less than $10 per seat per month to provide messaging services, while another one-third believe they spend anywhere from $10 to $15 per seat per month – but this cost estimate leaves out several important factors, particularly maintenance.

The research firm also found that the use of cloud-based email can allow organizations to focus more on their core business rather than devote resources to managing the messaging infrastructure.

Another analyst firm, Forrester Research, found that for a 15,000-person firm requiring archiving, the fully loaded cost of on-premise email was $25.18 per user per month compared to a cost of $8.47 for Google Apps.

But it's not all about cost savings – you need more than just a cheaper messaging solution. You also want one that can help your workforce achieve more. Moving to the cloud and Google Apps can help you streamline your IT infrastructure and provide a platform for innovation and increased employee satisfaction.

On October 8, join us for a live webcast as Google Apps expert, Rhonda Stites, walks through a simple financial model that evaluates the savings in adopting Google Apps. You will hear about real customer experiences, get your questions answered and have the tools you need to bring substantial value to your organization.

Register now to learn more about the potential cost savings for your organization.

Save Money with Cloud Computing and Google Apps
Thursday, October 8, 2009
11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT

We hope to see you there!

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

*Note: The pricing and features available in each architecture vary by provider. Download the full independent research report, “Should Your Email Live In The Cloud? A Comparative Cost Analysis,” Forrester Research, Inc., January 2009.

Get timely updates on new features in Google Apps by subscribing to our RSS feed or email alerts.

In large enterprises today, employees and administrators are trying to make sense of the volumes of content created by and living inside their companies, and quite a few of these organizations are turning to enterprise content management (ECM) systems. According to Forrester Research, ECM license revenue was projected to reach $3.9B in 2008.

Yet, over the past few years, as companies have spent significant dollars on their ECM systems, they've come to realize one thing. Content management systems are great at being repositories of information, yet individual employees still struggle to find the exact document they are looking for – even if they know it's in the ECM system. In other words, finding information can be a painful process.

Which leads us to the latest thinking from AMR Research, which provides comprehensive research and advisory services for supply chain and IT executives. Jim Murphy, Research Director for Knowledge Management at AMR Research, is looking at effective search as the missing element of a content management solution. While many content management systems have a built-in search feature, the capability and relevance of this functionality is typically not up to par. Murphy has been talking to many enterprises who are increasingly looking to separate enterprise search solutions to provide high quality search across not only their ECM system, but across other major repositories in their companies as well.

One such enterprise Murphy has spoken to is Mercer. As a global services company in 180 cities and 40 countries, Mercer has 19,000 employees, many of whom need to access information instantly to effectively serve their clients. Their business depends on leveraging intellectual capital and sharing best practices. So even though their intranet linked to Livelink, an ECM system which stored 1.5 million documents, there was no comprehensive search tool spanning all of the companies. After evaluating many different search technologies, Mercer made the choice to bring in the Google Search Appliance to provide universal search across their intranet.

As Haroon Suleman, Mercer's Lead Enterprise Architect for enterprise search, explains, "The Google Search Appliance won hands down. The fact that the Google Search Appliance provided a bridge to Livelink, and can provide future SharePoint connectivity if needed, was a major selling point."

Both Murphy and Suleman will join us on Thursday, October 8 for a webinar titled "Search: A Vital Element of an ECM Strategy." Murphy will present AMR's views on the ECM and enterprise search space, and Suleman will share the Mercer story, discussing Mercer's business needs, needs behind enterprise search, and specific metrics from users on how the Google Search Appliance has been increasing productivity. Register for the webinar and join the conversation – and the question and answer session at the end of the session.

Thursday, October 8, 2009
11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT

Maybe ECM systems need good search too, after all.

Posted by Vijay Koduri, Google Search Appliance team

Editor's note: The spam data cited in this post is drawn from the network of Google email security and archiving services, powered by Postini, which processes more than 3 billion email connections per day in the course of providing email security to more than 50,000 businesses and 15 million business users.

Back in 2007, we saw the first variants of a big virus attack later labeled the "Storm" virus. During that summer, Storm attacked with force, pushing payload spam activity to then-unprecedented levels and sustaining them for several months. The security community eventually caught up, and payload spam activity fell to nominal levels and held there. That is, until this year: Q2'09 saw a significant surge in payload spam activity, and now Q3'09 levels have made the 2007 Storm virus attack look small in comparison. Postini data centers have blocked more than 100 million viruses every day during what has so far been the height of the attack.

The majority (55%) of these viruses are messages like the one you see below, a fake notice of underreported income from the IRS (which the IRS distributed an alert on earlier this week). Another large contingent (33%) have come in the form of fake package tracking attachments, which were already on the rise in Q2. You might think a spoofed IRS notice or package tracking email is obviously spam, and wonder who would fall for it and actually click on the attachment.

However, at these volumes, it takes only a tiny fraction of the recipients being fooled for the spammers to add hundreds of computers to their botnets every day.

ISP takedowns continue, overall spam levels steady

Last quarter we saw a temporary 30% drop in overall spam levels following the 3FN ISP takedown, and the ISP takedown trend continues into Q3 with a new culprit called Real Host, a large Latvia-based ISP that was disconnected by upstream providers on August 1. This takedown didn't have the same drastic effects of McColo (last November), but it was comparable to 3FN. Ultimately, the effects of the Real Host takedown lasted only two days, with an initial 30% drop in spam followed by a quick resurgence.

Overall, spam levels remained steady this quarter, with little growth or decline since the Real Host incident. In Q3, spam as a percentage of total message volume is hovering around 90%, down from the Q2 average of around 95%. Q3'09 average spam levels were down 8% from Q2'09 and on par with levels in Q3'08. Spam levels also saw smaller ups and downs than in previous quarters.

Older spam techniques driving message size up

Last quarter we reported on the trend toward larger message sizes, measured in bytes. The trend has continued into this quarter, making 2009 a year of resurgence in old techniques such as image spam and payload viruses. When considering the spam bytes processed per user, growth has been steep in 2009, with Q3'09 rates up 123% from Q3'08.

Organizations that process spam inside their network should pay attention to this trend. The larger sizes create a bandwidth burden that can impact speed across your network. As the chart shows, Q2'09 delivered the record high to date for spam size – and subsequently for bandwidth drag for teams that manage spam in-house, potentially forcing those organizations to upgrade their capacity limits.

Best practices to optimize your enterprise spam filter

A common piece of feedback we get from our customers is that many of the messages in their spam folder or quarantine seem to come from "them" – from what appear to be valid email addresses from their own domain. These email addresses are actually spoofed (a common technique to mask the real origins of a message), and spammers employ this technique to take advantage of a mistake organizations sometimes make in configuring their spam filters: adding their own domain to their approved sender list.

While this might seem like a good idea at first glance – we want to make sure we don't block email from our colleagues, right? – in practice all it does is open your organization up to spoofed email. With that in mind, we strongly recommend that organizations not add their own domains to their approved sender lists. (Don't worry – legitimate mail from within your domain is correctly identified by filters and generally gets through just fine.)

For more information on how Google email security services, powered by Postini, can help your organization provide better spam protection and take a load off your network by halting spam in the cloud, visit

Posted by Adam Swidler, Google Postini Services team