Spam Blocking Is High On Everyone's Priority List

Despite assurances from E-mail vendors that anti-spam technology is up to the task of blocking unsolicited messages
Despite assurances from E-mail vendors that anti-spam technology is up to the task of blocking unsolicited messages, such optimism discounts the determination of spammers. Compounding the problem, aggressive spam filtering runs the risk of false-positives, blocking legitimate messages by mistake. Such missing missives have the potential to do more harm by their absence than an in-box full of notices from Nigeria of some unexpected inheritance.

With spam swelling to fill available bandwidth, it isn't surprising that reducing spam ranks high as an IT priority among the 400 companies surveyed in InformationWeek Research's Outlook 2004 study. Seventy percent report plans to clear corporate arteries of the noxious messages this year.


The Outlook study's small, midsize, and large companies--defined by revenue of less than $100 million, $100 million to less than $1 billion, and $1 billion or above--all say spam abatement is a priority.

The means to that end is content-filtering or anti-spam software, with 65% of respondents overall eyeing this tool. On average, we found that spam accounts for 43% of inbound messages in small businesses, 37% in midsize firms, and 36% in large companies.

Of the 239 sites that track the amount of spam received in our 2003 Spam In the Enterprise survey, 86% saw spam increasing on a monthly basis. The consensus puts the rate of increase at 37% a month. The good news is that half of this spam gets caught before it reaches desktops.

What's preventing spam from reaching your company's users? Share your tech strategies at the address below.

Thomas Claburn
Associate Editor
[email protected]

Filtering Over TimeFiltering Over Time

Is your IT division implementing and supporting content-filtering or anti-spam software?

The more painful a problem, the more attention it attracts. Spam grabbed the efforts and resources of IT groups incrementally throughout 2003. Ferris Research estimates that spam costs U.S. businesses $8.9 billion a year in lost productivity and costs for preventive tools and services. InformationWeek Research's Priorities study found that content-filtering and anti-spam software use rose steadily each quarter.

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