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Posts Tagged ‘high volume’

High Availability High Volume Email

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

High volume email sending is essential to the business operations of many different companies. Whether these emails involve onboarding messages to new users, form a key part of an organization’s marketing strategy, or are sent for a wide range of other purposes, they are often a core component of how a company spreads necessary information.

If the right systems aren’t in place, high volume email can go down. This puts a stop to all of those important transactional and marketing emails, which can cause delays or disruptions to business operations. These outages can have significant effects on a company’s bottom line.

If you don’t want your critical email to suddenly go down, then you need a high availability high volume email system in place. This gives you the redundancy you need in case your systems go offline.

high volume email

What Is High Availability?

As we discussed above, you want your organization’s email to be up and running as much as possible. This is known as high availability, an engineering term applied to many systems, especially in computing.

‘High availability’ is commonly used when talking about websites–a high availability service is one that has redundancies in place that keep a website online, even if the main server fails. In addition to the server that hosts the site itself, high availability web apps also need high availability MySQL so that databases are still accessible if the main server that hosts them goes down.

These high availability services are critical for businesses that cannot perform their core functions if their websites or databases go offline.

If a high availability service isn’t being used and there aren’t any redundancies in place, any outages to the servers will force the site or some of its functionality to go down. This means that customers will no longer be able to access the platform or some of the site’s key services.

It’s not just websites and web services that can go down. If a company’s high volume email doesn’t use a high availability infrastructure, it can go down when a server fails. This grinds all of an organization’s email to a halt, delaying or disrupting its marketing and transactional emails.

If these emails aren’t sent and received by customers, the company won’t be able to perform many of its necessary business functions until the server comes back online. This can lead to the loss of customers, increased complaints, reduced sales, and many other serious problems. With this in mind, high availability high volume email services are critical for any organization that relies on its email to perform its core functions.

Why Do Systems Go Down?

Some of the most common reasons that online systems go down include:

  • Hardware failures that bring down critical components such as the memory, CPU, or power.
  • Crashes or bugs in an operating system or other software.
  • DDoS and other attacks against the server.
  • Excessive amounts of traffic.
  • Failure of the network.
  • Overloading the network.
  • Failures at the data center, including human error or power outages.

How Can Load Balancing Help to Give You High Availability High Volume Email?

As we discussed above, there are many reasons your services could go offline. These causes of failure are inevitable, and they can occur frustratingly often. If you want your high volume email to be operational as much as possible, you need to have redundancies in place that can take over when these inevitable failures take place.

A core component of this is load balancing, which shares the workload between servers. This boosts the capacity, allowing servers to share the volume with others when they get overwhelmed by traffic. Load balancers can also detect server failures and automatically redirect traffic to healthy servers when necessary. When your high volume email service uses load balancing, it can continue to send its emails even when a server goes down.

Many providers have their servers and load balancers in the same place, which makes it easier for them to operate, but creates additional risks. If everything is located in the same data center, this means that a failure at the data center or in the network can still bring your email system down. Load balancing can’t help you if all of your infrastructure goes down at once.

At LuxSci, we offer a more robust alternative by placing three servers in separate data centers in the same geographic region. Having servers in three different physical locations makes your high volume email service far more resistant to going offline, because even if one data center fails, you still have backups at two other sites.

High Availability MySQL For High Volume Email

High volume email requires databases for tracking, logging, and other purposes. If your database goes down, then so does your ability to send transactional and marketing emails. This means that if high volume email is critical to your business, you also need high availability databases.

LuxSci’s solution is its regional high availability MySQL service. This offering includes three Enterprise MySQL servers, with each one located in a separate location within the same geographic area. It automatically replicates your databases across all three servers, with features including automated:

  • Failover and recovery
  • Zero-downtime system
  • Software updates

Our high availability MySQL service is excellent for organizations that rely on their high volume email for business operations, because it makes databases extremely resistant to going offline. It’s a solution that can help your organization survive the failure of a data center, all while being HIPAA-compliant at the same time.

Together with LuxSci’s high availability load balancers, our high availability MySQL makes your bulk email incredibly resistant to downtime.

LuxSci’s High Availability High Volume Email Solution

If marketing and transactional emails are critical to your organization’s operations, then you need a high volume email service. When you consider the costs of the service going down, its best to choose a solution that offers high availability.

Nothing will stop systems from failing, but with redundancies such as high availability load balancers and MySQL in place, we can make sure that regular failures don’t impact your business. Contact us now to find out more on how LuxSci’s offerings can help to keep your high volume email online as much as possible.

 

Why You Should Separate Your Business and Your Marketing Email Sending

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021

A typical organization sends at least two distinct classes of email messages: business emails and marketing emails.

Business email consists of all of the individual, personal messages sent by sales, support, billing and other departments to specific people. These messages are generally more time sensitive and it is very important that the recipients actually receive them. These messages should not be delayed by any kind of spam filtering software, if possible.

Marketing emails are messages sent in bulk to many people at once. Examples of marketing messages include company newsletters, notifications of blog updates, promotions and ads, status notices, etc.

Separating your business and marketing emails can help ensure they are reliably delivered. Using different email servers and maybe even a unique domain name can improve your email deliverability. Here we will look at why.

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Enterprise-Grade High Volume Secure Email Sending API

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

LuxSci has released an enhancement to its REST API targeted at fast, reliable, large-scale email sending.   While LuxSci’s API has had features for secure email sending for many years, the new API call is specifically designed with the needs of enterprise email sending in mind.

The new “Send Email” High Volume API call enables:

  1. Pipelining: Send up to 1,000 email messages per request
  2. Send to up to 1,000 email recipients per request
  3. Works for sending HIPAA-compliant secure email or regular email
  4. Load Balancing: Distributes your outbound email messages across your multiple dedicated outbound email servers.
  5. Fail Over: If you have multiple outbound email servers and one is down for some reason, the API will automatically re-try sending through other servers.
  6. Queuing: If you are depositing email into the API faster that your email servers can send, or if your email servers are down for some reason (e.g., maintenance), the messages will be accepted, queued, and delivered automatically as soon as possible.
  7. Tracking: Email delivery, bounce, click, feed-back loop, and open tracking works just like it does for messages sent via SMTP.
  8. Encryption and all other email sending features currently supported by direct SMTP sending (e.g., tag lines, encryption “Opt Out”, etc.) are supported by the API.
  9. SMTP Limits. Your overall API-based email sending is limited only by the number of recipients or messages to whom you are normally allowed to send via SMTP.

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Secure Bulk Email: The Solution to HIPAA Violations You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

If you send emails for marketing purposes, appointment reminders, or any other business transactions, it’s easy to get complacent and think that there is no way that you could be violating HIPAA. Unfortunately, HIPAA laws are incredibly complex and there are a number of unexpected violations that you can make without even realizing it. Using a secure bulk email service is the best way to avoid costly and damaging HIPAA penalties.

HIPAA laws are designed to protect the privacy of individuals and they often play out in ways that aren’t immediately intuitive. They are further complicated because the lines between compliance and non-compliance aren’t always clear. Given the costs of a violation, it’s important that every healthcare provider and business associate errs on the safe side.

How Can Bulk Emails Violate HIPAA?

There are a variety of common situations where healthcare providers can unwittingly leak their patients’ information in a way that violates HIPAA. The following are just a couple of scenarios that are not just compliance issues, but would also have serious ramifications for those who were affected:

Is a Harmless Newsletter Really Harmless?

Let’s say your healthcare organization wants to send out a newsletter to a certain subset of its patients. Surely something so innocent wouldn’t need to be encrypted, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

If your company were to email some helpful resources on depression, you might not see any need to send it to all of your patients. You may decide that it’s best to only send it to those who have previously sought out treatment for mental health issues. After all, what can be wrong with sending information to those who are most likely to find it useful?

Such a simple situation could easily have far-reaching consequences. The email connects the patient to the health condition, and it could give away far more information than the patient would be comfortable with. The targeted nature of the email insinuates that the patient has a mental illness, one which is a personal struggle that still carries a strong stigma in our society.

If this information was sent in an insecure manner, it could be accessed by other people, which could take a dramatic toll on the patient’s life. If the patient were a high-powered CEO and the information leaked, it could be personally difficult and also cause stock prices to plummet. A celebrity could see themselves as the center of a scandal, another famous person being hounded by the paparazzi in the grips of a mental breakdown.

Even normal people can face a range of negative consequences, such as if a patient’s spouse finds out that they were receiving treatment without their knowledge, or if a business partner discovers the information and decides not to move forward on the next project.

If your organization had sent out an email like this with the best intentions, it could still be culpable. These intentions don’t matter to the patient, especially if they have gone through a tough ordeal because of the email. In the eyes of HIPAA, the intentions don’t matter either. A violation is a violation.

An Appointment Reminder Can’t Hurt, Can It?

Let’s say a young woman from an extremely conservative background schedules an appointment with an OB-GYN. Under the laws of our society, she should have every right to see whichever kind of medical professional she needs. Her family and community may not see things the same way.

If the message weren’t sent in a secure way, it’s easy to imagine how the details of her appointment could be intercepted by those around her who disapprove. Perhaps they wouldn’t let her go. Maybe she would be shunned by her community or even worse.

No matter what the result, it is clear that there are some vulnerable people who have a strong need to have even their most subtle information protected. Sure, many of us may not care if such an appointment was made public, but that’s not the point. HIPAA laws are for everyone and need to be able to protect the most vulnerable as well.

What Do HIPAA Laws Actually Say About Secure Bulk Email?

The situations mentioned above are focused on the potential human cost of sending health information in an insecure manner. They demonstrate that HIPAA regulations aren’t just the result of a frustrating bureaucracy. Instead, they are important for protecting people.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we’ll look at the specifics of what the regulations say. This will help you to understand what does and does not constitute a violation, as well as the gray area that lies in between.

When it comes to bulk emailing, the main concern is over electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). This information needs to be guarded by adequate security measures whenever it is acquired, processed, sent or stored.

In essence, ePHI is any electronic information that is individually identifiable and that pertains to someone’s physical or mental health, their healthcare and treatments, or any payment-related information. It doesn’t matter whether this data is from the past, present or future. As far as HIPAA laws are concerned, it’s all ePHI.

When HIPAA laws refer to “individually identifiable” information, there’s a long list of 18 separate identifiers, including a patient’s name, address, relevant dates, phone number, email address and much more. The final identifier is “any other characteristic that could uniquely identify the individual”, so pretty much anything that can be connected with a patient counts as individually identifiable information.

Of course, any email address that someone gives to their health provider is clearly an identifier. This means that any organization that processes HIPAA data needs to be extremely careful when sending unencrypted emails, making sure that they don’t include anything that could be related to the patient’s health.

HIPAA Privacy Rule & Informed Consent

Under HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, healthcare providers are allowed to use unencrypted email to communicate with their patients, but only when they take reasonable safeguards and limit the information that is disclosed. These communications should be in accordance with the HIPAA Security Rule, which can be viewed in the Regulation Text (p62).

According to the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule (p70) the only situation where a healthcare provider can send a patient unencrypted ePHI is if the individual has been informed of the risk, but still chooses to have their information sent in an unencrypted manner. Healthcare providers will want to have this consent in writing so that they can maintain a permanent record as proof.

The HIPAA Privacy Rule also states that individuals must give written consent before their ePHI can be used for marketing. This means that messages about appointments or other transactional emails don’t typically need additional authorization, but messages which promote products or services which aren’t related to the patient’s core healthcare require consent.

What does all of this tell us? That a wide variety of information can be considered ePHI, and that there are many situations where it can be inadvertently sent. The penalties are enormous and can be incredibly damaging for the organization that is responsible, even if the violation was accidental.

What Are the Penalties for a HIPAA Breach?

It depends on just how negligent a healthcare provider’s actions have been. They can range from between $100 and $50,000 per violation or per record that has been violated. That’s right, in cases where the violation has been especially negligent, an organization may have to pay $50,000 for each non-compliant email that was sent.

Secure Bulk Email: The Solution that Protects Your Organization & Your Patients

As you can see, it’s easy to slip up and inadvertently face severe HIPAA penalties. From sending marketing materials to test results or even appointment reminders, there are so many pitfalls where you could be violating HIPAA.

LuxSci’s High Volume Email Sending Service can help to remove this burden from your organization, by giving you a wide variety of security options. In both of the scenarios at the start of this article, our bulk email service could have protected the individuals from having their ePHI exposed, as well as the companies involved from suffering the harsh HIPAA penalties that could follow.

You may think that the majority of your bulk email doesn’t need to be encrypted, and you may even be right. But it’s those few exceptional circumstances which can see your business fall on the wrong side of HIPAA regulations. Our bulk email service helps to prevent this by allowing you to implement the security that is best for both your organization and your patients.

Alternative bulk email providers simply don’t offer the security that is necessary for dealing with information that is as sensitive as ePHI. Organizations that use a service which isn’t HIPAA-compliant may be inadvertently violating the regulations.

You may think that you can get around the need for encryption by simply asking your patients for consent. Sure, it’s possible in some cases, but it still requires a lot of administration. Your organization would need to ask for and obtain consent, then keep permanent records. This can be a complex process where there are numerous opportunities for things to go wrong.

The Benefits of LuxSci’s High Volume Email Sending Service

The standout feature of LuxSci’s bulk email service is that it offers HIPAA compliance for large-scale sending. No other company offers a comparable service, which makes LuxSci the go-to option for organizations that take their HIPAA obligations seriously.

On top of this, we offer a flexible setup that allows your business to send its emails in a manner that suits both your needs and those of your patients. Our TLS Exclusive gives you the option to send emails to only those recipients whose email system supports TLS. This can be a great option for marketing campaigns, especially if you don’t want your non-TLS recipients to be forced to click through to a secure Escrow Portal.

As an alternative, our Escrow service allows anyone to access secure email messages, without any complicated steps or security compromises. With our bulk email service, you can configure your messages dynamically, without the need to adjust your settings for every message.

Another key feature of LuxSci’s service is its scalability. As your email needs grow, we can support you along the way, with the capacity for up to hundreds of millions of emails each month. Our dedicated infrastructure installations offer high availability and disaster recovery, giving your organization everything it needs for enterprise-level bulk emailing.

This makes our High Volume Email Service an excellent solution for your business. Not only can it be used to bring your current bulk email practices in-line with HIPAA regulations, but it can form a key part of your marketing campaigns, helping to grow your business well into the future.

Warming Up Your IP Addresses Automatically

Thursday, June 21st, 2018

When sending email messages, there are many best practices for ensuring optimal deliverability.   I.e., for getting your messages into your recipients’ Inboxes and for staying off black lists.  One very important factor in deliverability is “IP reputation.

Good reputation: If your server is known to send lots of good quality email (email that people do not consider spam-like), then your server’s address (its “IP Address”) is looked on favorably by ISPs (such as Yahoo!, Google, Microsoft, etc.) and you can send large quantities of good email and have it all delivered.  Your server has a good reputation and your server’s IP address is “warm” (think warmed up and humming a long).

Bad reputation: If your server is a known source of junk or malicious email (according to the recipients of the email — it doesn’t matter what you think about the email quality), then you will have a hard time getting your email delivered and many ISPs will throttle your email, accepting only a few messages a time.  Your server has a poor reputation and work will need to be done to repair it.

No reputation: If you just got a new server, it may not have been sending any email for a while.  Or, if you have a server but it has been idle for a long time (e.g, months).  In either case, your server’s address may have “no reputation.”  ISPs are very skeptical about email from servers with no reputation or recent history of good email sending.  A typical sign of a spammer is when a server with little or no reputation suddenly starts sending large quantities of email.  ISPs will detect this and they tend to quickly throttle or block such servers…. moving them from “no reputation” towards “bad reputation”.

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