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Study Shows Most Large Companies Monitor Outbound E-Mail

Research shows that most large companies are concerned about compliance issues in E-mail messages.
More than 63% of corporations with more than 1,000 employees employ or plan to read or otherwise analyze outbound e-mail. Over a third already employs staff to monitor e-mail, and another 26.5% say they intend to in the future.

Those are highlights from a study of outbound e-mail security and content issues conducted by messaging security compliance vendor Proofpoint an Forrester Consulting earlier this year. In an announcement about Outbound Email Security and Content Compliance in Today's Enterprise the company said in part, "These results indicate the rising prominence of outbound e-mail as a source of risk for corporations."

Analysts studying the data at Proofpoint have concluded that large companies are concerned about employees using e-mail to leak trade secrets or other intellectual property, about employees' compliance with company e-mail policy and with financial disclosure regulations, and about leaks of confidential company communications. In emphasizing the point, the announcement notes in 40% of companies with more than 20,000 employees in the study currently employ staff to monitor e-mail, and over 30% plan to in the future

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • More than 1 in 3 companies suspected e-mail leakage of confidential information in the last 12 months.

  • More than a quarter of the companies have fired an employee for violating e-mail policies in the last 12 months, and over half have disciplined an employee for e-mail policy violations in the last year.

  • Over 10% were ordered to produce employee e-mail messages to a court or regulatory body in the last 12 months.

  • Respondents estimated that nearly 25% of outbound e-mails contain content that poses a legal, financial or regulatory risk to their organizations.

  • About half of the largest companies say it is "very important" to reduce the risks associated with outbound e-mail in the next year.

  • Aside from corporate e-mail, IT professionals are most concerned about Web-based e-mail as a source of risk, followed by instant messaging.
For more information, and to download a copy of the study, visit www.proofpoint.com/outbound.
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