Lost In Cyberspace: Containing Spam

Some companies are doing better than average in their battle to thwart spam. Here's what products and techniques they use
We have all experienced the way spam--the black hole of the cyberfrontier--is sucking up organizational resources, but the question has always been: Just how much? Here's a useful factoid to bandy about at the office H20 dispenser: Spam E-mail is growing at an average of 37% per month for an estimated annual growth rate of more than 400%. That's a key finding of InformationWeek Research's new study, Spam in the Enterprise. But what the study also revealed that may strike you as even more shocking is that in most organizations spam filtering isn't among the highest priorities of the IT department. End users may get mad about it, they may even sign anti-spam petitions by the pay-for-water cooler, but IT investment in spam filtering solutions is mostly negligible (if not negligent).

But what if you knew which products to install to increase your spam blockage rate? InformationWeek's survey of more than 500 companies highlights various approaches. On average, companies typically block or intercept about half of the spam E-mail coming over the transom. Of course, that means nearly half the companies aren't achieving those results. Based on our research, 17% of sites block less than 25% of inbound spam.

We want to show you what's working for the companies experiencing some success--and also what the struggling companies are doing--so you can figure out if your company is on the right track.

First, we begin with a list of the techniques and methods applied by companies that are struggling to succeed:


Next, here's a chart showing what techniques and methods the more successful spam blockers are deploying to achieve a modicum of success:


It appears that the more tools and products a company has installed, the greater percentage of spam is blocked. In an ideal situation, where budgets are unlimited, all these tools and products are deployed. However, if budgets are limited, there are five tools that are "must-haves," including virus filtering, blacklists, spam filtering, content filtering, and keyword filtering. Once you have those five installed, you can increase your spam blockage rate by 10% or more if you add attachment filtering and rules-based filtering.

Lisa Smith
Managing Editor, Research
[email protected]

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