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Control What You Can (Training Your Spam Filter In Google Apps)

Phone for IT Admin(Ring Ring)

“Hey IT, this is Sam over in accounting again...Yeah, I know...5 times today already.”


Cutting the conversation here, we could take the limited context from Sam’s frustration a number of different ways, right? Terminal keeps crashing, trouble with the VPN, internet is too slow, etc. The list of possibilities could go on for days; none of which are poor Sam’s fault (of course) and all of which fall squarely on the shoulders of the support desk employee, who is probably equally as frustrated.


There are a myriad of factors which can restrict that technology utopia we all envision: the latest and greatest hardware, a lighting-fast, yet reliable internet connection, and the use of applications that never experience outages. Ahhhh, dreams…

Most of these we can’t control. Yes, I say again users, despite the common school of thought, your helpdesk colleagues typically cannot make your internet faster or desktop pc newer at the drop of a hat (no matter how often you call).

The greener side of the grass

One thing we can do however, with the power of Google and the integration of what was once the stand alone spam service, Postini, is streamline how Spam is handled. In the conversation above, Sam is frustrated because a number of people have reached out to him to follow up on emails, which Sam never received. “Why did Sam never get those emails,” you ask? The Spam filter of course!

Many stand alone Spam and email filtering services on the market, are known for that dreaded quarantine. Google differentiates itself, by taking the power of Spam and putting it in the users hands. If Sam had a Google Apps for Work account, those emails would have most likely wound up in his Spam label, not in a quarantine he can’t access.

Not to fret admins, the quarantine feature is available if you so choose, however it can be configured to take action only on the rarest of occasions. Not only does Google’s advanced algorithms judge Spam with the upmost accuracy, but Sam is only a click away from seeing the messages Google deemed untrustworthy. If Sam identifies that one of these senders is legitimate, all he has to do is select the message and click the “Not Spam” action button (see image below). Google will remember that this is a trusted sender and route the messages into the inbox going forward.

Google's Spam FilterOn the flipside, if Sam sees a message in his Inbox that should have been marked as Spam, he simply selects the message, and chooses the option to “Report Spam”. Not only will Google mark this sender as Spam going forward, but if it identifies that Sam is on a mailing list it will also attempt to unsubscribe him from it.

Pretty great, right? Well, this is only one of the many features for Spam and filtering offered directly via the Google Apps Admin Console. Stay tuned for more by subscribing to the blog (if you haven’t done so already). So do your helpdesk and Sam a favor and GO GOOGLE!

Google Support for admins and end users
Originally published on April 16, 2015

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