Is the Microsoft 365 spam filter any good?

Nathan Hill-Haimes


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    Is the Microsoft 365 spam filter any good?

    What is spam email?

    It's the junk that tends to pile up in your junk mail folder (if you're using it correctly) or in your inbox folder (if you need to review and adjust your junk mail settings.) It's unwanted emails that tend to be sales-related or irritating, unlike phishing, which is designed to encourage you to provide sensitive and financial data to cybercriminals.

    Spam is irritating, time-wasting, annoying and takes up vital server space and mental energy. So, now is the time to tackle it in your software package. Let's take a closer look at what's involved:

    Does Microsoft 365 have spam filtering?

    Yes, the good news for Microsoft 365 users is that this software has a powerful array of anti-spam filtering built-in, offering a broad spectrum of protection against spam emails and options to customise your level of protection according to your needs. These are the main things that you need to know about Microsoft Office 365 spam filtering:

    1. There is an improved Microsoft 365 security centre that has been designed to bring the latest anti-spam technologies on board for customers.
    2. The Outlook Junk Email Filter is designed to automatically remove spam into the junk mail folder, where you can choose to review it - or ignore it altogether.
    3. A series of coordinated and holistic anti-spam and anti-phishing technology protects users from malicious and junk emails, designed to work across Microsoft systems and hardware.
    4. The anti-spam technology that Microsoft uses is deemed to be best in class, and it learns from known spam and phishing threats, user feedback and user settings. It classifies the different types of spam, such as high confidence spam, general spam, bulk emails, dangerous phishing emails and even high confidence phishing emails. Users can then assign automated actions for each category, with options to report threats automatically to Microsoft.
    5. The technology also scans emails and checks for unwanted outgoing spam if spambots have attached content to legitimate user emails. The Microsoft 365 spam filter protects users from inbound and outbound spam for wraparound protection.

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    How do I set up Microsoft Office 365 spam filtering?

    When using Microsoft 365, the spam filter is automatically set up in your inbox and set to 'no automatic filtering.' From here, you have the option to adjust different levels of protection so that you can customise how each category of spam email is treated. The Junk Mail filter within the software automatically assesses each incoming email to determine if it thinks it contains spam and what kind of spam it is. It will look at the delivery time, the nature of the content, and the sender's email address to determine this.

    It is easy to adjust your preferred junk mail settings by going to Home > Junk > Junk Email Options. You can then filter the content that comes in by choosing settings such as safe sender lists. Microsoft 365 spam filter will never filter contacts from your safe senders' list into junk. Similarly, you can choose safe recipients which filter messages from approved mailing or distribution lists.

    When you want to block content from a particular sender, you can easily do this by adding their domain name or email address to your blocked senders' list. Regardless of the content these addresses send you, the software will instantly filter them to the junk mail folder.

    It's also interesting to note that you can add geographical regions or country codes to your blocked list via blocked top-level domains. For example, you could block emails from Canada by choosing to block messages from .ca emails.

    These settings are highly customisable, and any actions can be easily reversed or adjusted later down the line if you prefer. Adjust your settings in the 'junk' tab on your email homepage.

    microsoft 365 spam filter

    How do I access my spam filter in Microsoft 365?

    Organisations can also use the Microsoft Defender portal in 365 to set enterprise-wide rules around junk mail management and monitoring. This advanced central programming system allows IT teams to set up rules that work according to company policies.

    For end-users, go to Home, then junk, and then you'll see the complete list of junk management settings available to you.

    Top tip: it's worth regularly checking your junk mail folder. The junk folder is viewed from the left-hand menu of email boxes or wherever you have customised your screen view. Here you can see if any messages from legitimate contacts are being filtered away. If you see anything in the junk folder you want to keep; you can simply select and drag the email into your inbox. Removing the item into your inbox will adjust your safe settings and mark it as safe for the future. Depending on your settings, you may be prompted to confirm that you want this action to happen. Alternatively, you can mark the email as safe by selecting Home > Junk > Not junk.

    Suppose you work for a business and spot unwanted emails still filtering through to your inbox. Flag it up to your IT team, who may update the organisation-wide filters. Similarly, if you do receive any phishing emails alongside your spam, it is important to flag these up and handle them according to your company safety policies. Microsoft uses cutting-edge AI and machine-learning technologies to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to junk and dangerous emails, but it's worth adding a keen eye to your inbox to protect it as much as possible.


    Hopefully, this guide to Microsoft 365's junk management filters and processes has provided a good overview of the robust functionality on offer in this easy-to-use, intuitive and highly adaptable user interface. It's just one reason why Microsoft still dominates the market, especially in the corporate, educational and personal user spaces. It should give users extra peace of mind when it comes to getting the most from their email inboxes and security protocols.

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