Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Is IT Winning Battle Against Spam?

About two in five companies report that they’re winning their battle

against spam. And one analyst says it’s a battle that companies will be

increasingly winning.

”I think the problem with spam will be solved in relatively short

order,” says Michael Osterman, Osterman Research, Inc. based in Black

Diamond, Wa. ”In July we did a survey and 10 percent of organizations

said spam is a minor problem for them… If you ask that question next

year, I’d say the percentage will go up to 25 or 30 percent.”

Osterman’s optimism, however, may not be very widespread.

Spam set a new record in this past June, accounting for nine out of

every 10 emails in the United States. Around the globe, spam grew to

account for 76 percent of all email traveling the Internet, according to

statistics from MessageLabs, Inc., an email management and security

company based in New York. That number is up from 60 percent at the

beginning of the year.

Osterman Research conducted two separate studies on email security last

month. The survey shows that ”almost all” organizations have had a

virus, worm or other malicious content entered into their network

through email. And one in six report getting malware through instant

messaging programs.

The study also finds that IT administrators and email managers say the

most serious problems they face — in order — are spam, growth in email

storage requirements, supporting remote users and inadequate email

archiving.

”If you look at the emphasis of where people are putting their dollars,

it’s really still very much on spam,” says Osterman. ”Tools have been

out now with good spam capabilities, but we’re finding the performance

of systems getting worse over time.”

Osterman explains that even if a filter is keeping out 95 percent of all

spam being sent to email addresses within the company, the amount of

junk mail getting through is growing every year simply because the

volume of spam being sent is growing. ”Say last year you got a 100,0000

messages a day and you captured 95 percent of them, and 5 percent got

through,” says Osterman. ”Now you’re getting 125,000 spams a day. That

5 percent now represents a larger number of spams getting through —

6,250 compared to 5,000 the previous year.”

And Osterman says his survey shows that most IT administrators,

particularly those at medium or large companies, say hope of beating

back spam does not lie with legislation. The hope, he says, lies in spam

filters.

Filters are the key to fending off the influx of spam but they only work

well if they are constantly updated, according to Osterman.

”Spam will become less of a problem primarily due to improvements to

spam filters,” he adds. ”I don’t think spammers will go away and I

don’t think it’ll have much to do with legislation.”

But filters aren’t something you can implement and forget. ”If you

implement a technology and let it sit there, it will degrade over

time,” Osterman says. ”You need to update the software, just like you

do with anti-virus programs. The spam capturing efficiency can actually

get better over time.”

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