Spam and virus protection are top e-mail priorities, with three in four businesses still not keen on cloud.
Mimecast, a leading supplier of cloud-based e-mail security, continuity and archiving, has today released research revealing that IT teams are still struggling to protect their businesses from spam e-mail and viruses. The research also finds that the majority of organisations are yet to embrace the benefits of cloud-based e-mail, while struggling to cope with an increasingly complex e-mail environment.
The research, which surveyed IT and security professionals on the first day of the Infosecurity Europe conference, in London, found that anti-spam and anti-virus is by far the biggest headache for IT teams; 78% of respondents identified it as their top e-mail concern. With 72% saying their current spam prevention system is not ‘very effective’, it is clear that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to protecting employees from malicious e-mail.
“Although spam and virus concerns are by no means a new phenomenon, it is very surprising that more than three quarters of IT managers still see them as their biggest e-mail headache,” commented Barry Gill, Product Marketing Manager at Mimecast. “This is perhaps a sign that IT teams should be re-examining the way they counter these threats. For instance, by working with a cloud specialist, under pressure IT teams can gain access to a level of security resources and expertise that simply isn’t sustainable in-house.”
Despite cloud dominating much of the talk at this year’s Infosecurity Europe, it seems cloud adopters remain in a minority. The research reveals that three quarters of organisations (75%) are still entirely reliant on an on-premise e-mail architecture. Twelve percent of businesses now have a fully cloud-based e-mail environment, with 13% using a combination of on-premise and cloud-based e-mail technology.
“Although cloud-based e-mail services seem to still be in the minority, there is a clear appetite for the kind of benefits that the cloud can deliver,” Gill continued. “Fifty-one percent of respondents identified ‘unlimited e-mail storage’ as the one thing that would make managing their e-mail environment easier, while 22% said they would want a system that could be managed more simply.”
E-mail policy was another area of concern at Infosecurity Europe 2011, with 48% of organisations struggling to strike a balance over the use of personal e-mail accounts, such as Hotmail or Gmail, in the workplace. Twenty-seven percent admitted that the use of personal e-mail at work was a ‘huge problem’ and a ‘severe’ security threat. More concerning, however, are the 16% of businesses who allow employees to use their personal Hotmail or Gmail account for work use because it “suits users’ needs more than our business systems”. Five percent of organisations have banned the use of personal e-mail accounts at work altogether.
Gill continued: “E-mail policies need to evolve to reflect the high levels of sophistication among today’s e-mail users. Sending work-related e-mails and documents from personal e-mail accounts represents a major security threat, but due to the user-friendly nature of systems like Gmail, it is becoming all too common. In many instances, employees know how they should be behaving, but they choose to ignore corporate e-mail policy so that they can use the tool they feel they need to get the job done. IT teams should be looking to improve their own systems so that they are reliable, flexible and user-friendly enough that employees do not feel the need to go elsewhere.”
Mimecast’s Justin Pirie spoke at Infosec about the threats user behaviour and personal e-mail pose to business. To find out more, download Mimecast’s Generation Gmail report at: http://www.mimecast.com/News-and-views/White-papers-Reports-and-analysis/Dates/2011/3/Generation-Gmail-Report/.