Proofpoint to replace DSPAM for email security

A new tool to improve Rice’s protection against phishing, ransomware and other malicious email-based threats is being implemented this week through mid-August.

Graphic showing an envelope with a skull and crossbones and symbols indicating viruses and bugs and the word "spam"Proofpoint, which replaces the current anti-spam system known as DSPAM, has a track record of stopping 99 percent of attachment-based attacks. “When Proofpoint detects these threats, they will be quarantined before ever reaching your inbox,” said Mike Dewey, director of campus services for the Office of Information Technology (OIT), in an email to faculty and staff.

In addition to improving campus email security, OIT is adding a new function that should simplify management of spam email messages.

Once an employee’s email has been migrated to Proofpoint, they will receive a daily email titled “End User Digest: New Messages” that provides a list of emails that Proofpoint has separated into two categories.

One category is labeled “Spam – Quarantined” and consists of messages that have been identified as spam by Proofpoint.

The other category is labeled “Low-Priority Mail” and contains messages that the user may have subscribed to (knowingly or unknowingly) by joining a mailing list.

Emails from these two categories will not reach the user’s inbox unless they change their Proofpoint profile. By default, the user’s Proofpoint profile will be set to quarantine both spam and low-priority mail. Users who want to receive some of those low-priority emails or even some of the spam in their inbox can modify their profile. Instructions for doing this are available at

“OIT conducted a peer review, spoke with industry technology leaders and performed an exhaustive proof of concept on the new produce with more than 100 members of the Rice community,” Dewey said. “Feedback has been extremely positive, and we sincerely hope that everyone’s experience with Proofpoint is positive as well.”

OIT will no longer provide support for DSPAM. Spam settings that users created with DSPAM will not transfer to Proofpoint, so users will have to recreate them. However, because Proofpoint should identify more emails as spam and keep them from reaching inboxes, users should have fewer emails to flag as spam.

Questions about Proofpoint can be directed to the OIT Help Desk at 713-348-4357 or to (include “Proofpoint” in the subject line).

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.