It’s Time to Get Serious About Spam

Written by Jeff on August 2, 2012

In a study by the Radicati Group, it was found that 55 percent of all companies do not have an anti-spam filtering solution in place because they were afraid that false positives would cause their users to miss important emails.

This is a legitimate fear. But it shows us that there is likely a higher percentage of companies that have no anti-spam filters. If 55 percent admit to forgoing this type of security, what about those who:

  • Are ignorant to the problem of spam
  • Feel that their business is too small to worry about spam
  • Use a cloud-based solution and feel this is protection enough
  • Think that they don’t have the money to spend on anti-spam filters

The numbers quickly add up.

No matter the reason, failing to implement some type of anti-spam solution is irresponsible; especially if you look at current trends.

Spam is back on the rise

A recent article in eWeek described how despite the dismantling of large scale botnets, illicit emails are again on the rise. They were even so bold as to claim that reports are showing a, “indicates a gradual return to the pre-Rustock shutdown status quo.”

And just what are the reports showing? Basically that junk emails are back on the rise:

  • 54.8 percent more spam
  • 52.4 percent more identified malware
  • 169.6 percent increase in phishing emails
  • 70.8 percent of the email volume is spam

Getting serious about fighting spam

We all know that spam costs business money. Whether you look at lost productivity, misuse of resources, the amount lost due to scams, money lost as a result of malware sent via spam, etc.

Yet for some reason when you couple the potential loss from all of these factors, and the many others, decision makers still feel that spending the money on a reputable anti-spam solution just isn’t worth the investment.

Unfortunately for people who work in a company where this is the prevailing attitude little can be done to change the attitudes of those who write the checks. Eventually, their organization will suffer the ramifications of not putting the proper protection in place and they will react.

When companies make a decision based on a reaction, they often do so in haste and the product they eventually purchase may not meet the specific needs of the organization and its users. Worse still, the product may not even be as effective as others.

In a post written for Business Computing World, Emmanuel Carabot outlined eight things to look for when choosing an anti-spam solution:

  1. Protection using both inbound and outbound filtering
  2. Anti-spam, anti-malware, anti-phishing – basically anti-everything that poses a threat via email
  3. Ability to manage the solution via a web browser
  4. Self-service features for the users to give them the ability to find false-positives
  5. Logging and searching capabilities
  6. Archiving to aid in compliance and litigation
  7. Multi-language support
  8. Product neutrality as far as your email suite is concerned

Best of all, the article addresses the fact that these requirements can be of particular help to an organization who is looking to implement their anti-spam filtering solution quickly.

So maybe it’s not too late for your company.

Is that all?

Putting a solution in place to stop spam and email borne malware is only part of the solution. While it serves as the foundation, the way your users view and deal with spam make a huge difference between organizations that are serious about dealing with spam and those whose words are merely lip service.

Training is always considered a part of the layered approach. Teaching your users how to identify spam and what to do with it goes a long way but getting the users involved in the process shouldn’t be overlooked. Developing user buy-in can really help make your implementation successful. This is why the self-service feature mentioned above is so important.

Policies are also an integral part of a comprehensive anti-spam solution. However policies need to be enforced throughout the organization as a whole. If certain parts of the policy are not enforced, or if they are not enforced for all people, users will know and treat it as just another piece of paper.

What goes the furthest, however, is getting your users to understand the need to protect their business, as well as personal, email accounts against email borne threats. When you take the time to help them understand just how destructive email threats are, you are showing that your organization is taking the fight against spam and malware seriously.

Is your company serious about fighting spam? If so, let us know what they are doing to keep illicit email at bay.

  • (required)
  • (required)