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IT Challenge: Spam

Junk e-mail is becoming a big problem, as spammers clog inboxes with dubious offerings from weight-loss remedies to cheap Viagra. For institutions, the challenge is filtering out the fluff without deleting important correspondence.

Jeff Griffin hates spam. "Spam doesn't discriminate. It's a problem across every e-mail account," says the director of information technology at the Audax Group, a private equity firm with offices in Boston and New York.

Audax has about $1 billion in assets under management in private equity investing and mezzanine financing. Griffin says its 65 employees are "all on e-mail and heavily use BlackBerrys," a hand-held device coveted by many on Wall Street built by technology firm Research in Motion. "E-mail is the most important application here," he says, noting that "instantaneous communication is the key to our success. It's a high priority."

However, spam was starting to get in the way of that success and bogging down the firm's e-mail system, so a few years ago Griffin began using an internal-filter system to weed out unwanted missives.

It was installed on Audax's mail servers and had to be manually managed by its three-person IT shop.

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