Spam will cost the world $50 billion in lost productivity and other expenses this year, according to a new report issued by Ferris Research. More than a third of that, or $17 billion, will be wasted by U.S. companies.
But the damage could be a lot worse, says Richi Jennings, one of the Ferris analysts who authored the report. "We haven't seen as much of a spike in costs as in spam volume because more organizations are putting in better anti-spam technology," he says. Since 2003, spam volume hitting U.S. companies has jumped fivefold, but costs haven't even doubled, Jennings says. Still, revenue for anti-spam software and hosted services will reach $1.7 billion by 2008, research firm IDC predicted last week.
With so much money at stake, it's easy for companies to make a business case for anti-spam technology, particularly in places where labor costs are higher and spam volumes larger. "For developed countries, deploying competent spam-filtering software makes good business sense," Jennings says. In the United States, spam's annual per-mailbox cost to businesses is $170. In Germany, it jumps to $241 based on Germany's higher labor costs, fewer workdays, and high health-care and pension costs borne by companies.
Not every filtering method is economically equal, Jennings says. Server-based filtering is considerably cheaper than desktop-based anti-spam systems; the former typically costs $132 per year per user, while the latter runs $217. "There are very few scenarios where we would recommend desktop filtering," he says. "Any time an IT department has to roll out software to everyone's desktop, you're talking serious money."
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.