U-Haul Tackles spam, Protects its employees, and Improves Quality of Service with Proofpoint™

U-Haul had to find a way to combat its growing spam problem. Due to the size of the organization, the company knew that it needed an anti-spam filter that was both centralized and enterprise-grade. However, because its email system was not Microsoft-based, U-Haul was having a difficult time finding a vendor that was willing or able to address its unique needs.

The company turned to Proofpoint and the Proofpoint Protection Server. Proofpoint worked with U-Haul to set up a test environment that would demonstrate first-hand the power of the Proofpoint solution and its effect on U-Haul's organization. In an instant, Proofpoint Protection Server® correctly identified 70% of U-Haul's Internet email as spam.

U-Haul was able to virtually eliminate its spam problem, while conserving IT resources and improving system performance in the process. In addition, it was able to filter out viruses, protect both its users' in-boxes and the company's servers, and help drive productivity across the organization.


  • Proofpoint Protection Server
  • Proofpoint Spam Protection
  • Proofpoint Virus Protection
  • Proofpoint Content Compliance

Not only does it keep spam out of our users' mailboxes, it actually keeps spam from hitting our servers in the first place, saving precious resources such as disk space.

Sam Shoen,
WebTeam Manager

adventist HealthTACKLING SPAM IN A UNIQUE ENVIRONMENT Without question, U-Haul is the de facto source for truck and trailer rentals, serving corporate and consumer audiences throughout North America through more than 15,000 locations. Due to the very distributed nature of its operation, the company relies heavily on email as a means of communication, among the corporate employees, dealers, and other business contacts.

The email system that U-Haul chose to deploy was one that was built for stability and longevity – but one that was non-Microsoft based. The email system, called FirstClass, has served the company well over the years – that is, until the advent of spam. According to Sam Shoen, WebTeam Manager for U-Haul and its parent company, AMERCO, "When the spam explosion hit, we needed to find a way to reinforce our FirstClass system and prevent spam from getting through. FirstClass did not provide anti-spam capabilities – this was a package that had been created before email as we know it today even existed. But, it was one that we were very happy with – we were not willing to change. However, spam was increasingly becoming an issue for our company."

This left U-Haul without an effective email virus and spam filtering mechanism. "We were in a pinch," commented Shoen. "We had no legitimate way of addressing spam. The organization was too big and too distributed to load desktop software on every individual machine, so we had to find something centralized. The problem is that most anti-spam vendors assume that you are using a Microsoft-based email system. And that wasn't the case here."

Unfortunately, as the spam epidemic grew, so did the burden on U-Haul mail servers. The increase in volume was having a serious impact on performance, and was affecting the WebTeam's ability to provide the best-in-class service on which they pride themselves.

U-Haul began its search for a centralized, enterprise-grade anti-spam solution that would support the company's use of FirstClass and provide robust, iron-clad protection against the spam threat. Shoen added, “We researched all the usual suspects – including service-based solutions, which were not a cost-effective option. Also, service offerings go against the 'do-it-yourself' culture that has been created at U-Haul. Everything is done in-house.”

That's when U-Haul discovered Proofpoint and the Proofpoint Protection Server. “Proofpoint gave us the scalability, flexibility, and control that we needed,” said Amy Henning, email administrator for U-Haul. “And, they were able to work with our existing email system. Proofpoint was the only vendor who was willing to bend over backwards to help us.”

With Proofpoint, U-Haul learned that, on average, 70% of its total Internet email volume was spam. “Proofpoint has been invaluable to our organization,” added Shoen. “Not only does it keep spam out of our users' mailboxes, it actually keeps spam from hitting our servers in the first place, saving precious resources such as disk space.”

U-Haul also took note of Proofpoint's willingness to work with the company and to offer a "try before you buy" approach to help ensure that U-Haul would have the highest level of confidence that it was picking the right spam filter solution. For example, Proofpoint helped U-Haul run an extended test installation where it could deploy Proofpoint Protection Server in the exact configuration with which U-Haul would go live. Henning said, "They took all of the risk out of the equation by letting the results speak for themselves."

U-Haul also experienced the value of Proofpoint during a recent virus outbreak. The company was able to use Proofpoint Protection Server's content-filtering module to filter out email viruses using certain attribute rules. For example, the WebTeam was able to filter out anything that did not have a pre-approved extension. This added layer of defense would further help to protect the network and, thus, the employees against unwanted email viruses.

Finally, Shoen and Henning reported that there were virtually no false positives or false negatives. “Not one time has a user called in and said that he or she was missing a message,” said Shoen. “It's had a tremendous impact – even with my own personal email, I've seen a difference. I used to get 100 spam messages a day. That's gone away almost entirely.”

Most importantly, from Shoen's perspective, is the impact that it has had on the quality of service that his team can provide to the employees. Shoen concludes, “Now, instead of spending the first half hour of their days cleaning up spam, our employees can jump right into their responsibilities. And for my team, we can now spend more time servicing those employees – time that had been previously spent trying to fix the spam problem. Without question, everyone has been affected, and everyone is very happy!”

Now in its 59th year, U-Haul International is the undisputed leader in the truck and trailer rental industry. U-Haul trucks and trailers can be rented from 15,500 independent dealers and over 1,342 company- owned moving centers. The company is also one of the largest operators of self-storage facilities, the world's largest installer of permanent trailer hitches, and the world's largest single-brand Yellow Pages advertiser. AMERCO is the holding company for U-Haul International.

Proofpoint, Proofpoint Protection Server, Proofpoint Spam Detection, Proofpoint Virus Protection, and Proofpoint Content Compliance are trademarks of Proofpoint, Inc. in the US and/or other jurisdictions. All other brands and product names are the property of their respective owners. Proofpoint case studies are presented for information purposes only and contain no warranties, express, implied or statutory, regarding the products or services described herein. Results from using Proofpoint products will vary. For questions on how Proofpoint's products and services might work best for your organization, please contact your local Proofpoint office for more information.

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