The filters are turned on

About a week ago, I installed Postini services for Google Apps for Education on our school’s system.  It took a fair amount of fiddling and a number of experimental emails, but I managed to set up a pretty solid filtering system that keeps the bad stuff out without turning legitimate email away.    I plan to give a more thorough how-to on setting it all up, but here are my initial observations.

•  The junk filter on regular google apps email (gmail) does a pretty good job even without postini installed.  Postini gives you way more control, but takes a little time to figure out.

• Teachers or non-students would probably prefer the lowest filter settings with postini.  Anything above a 2 (there are 5 levels) starts to quarantine things that users might need to receive – such as reply emails for signing up for a site like Flickr.

• Students and teachers can be assigned to different groups called organizations, which makes it easier to assign specific filters and adjust access levels.

• Creating filters is fairly easy, just make sure to set filters for incoming and outgoing email.  I had a dummy student account set up and emailed a nasty message to my teacher account and was a little shocked that it got through.  I’d set up a filter to catch some specific bad words and phrases, but only on inbound email for students.  After a little exploration, I realized that I hadn’t set up an outgoing mail filter.  Students could still send bad things out even though they couldn’t receive bad things.  To fix it, I just copied the incoming mail filter and applied it to the outgoing mail.

I’ll post more later and give some updates on how well it’s working, but for right now it seems to be doing what I’ve set it to do.


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