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August 19, 2010

The Effect of Spam on Business

Spam, or junk email, is one of the largest frustrations for Internet users. For businesses, this frustration adds up to dollars lost and spent trying to prevent it. Reports estimate that spam costs U.S. businesses more than $71 billion in lost productivity annually, which equates to $712 per employee. I’m sure most businesses, especially in the economy’s current state, can think of a better use for those dollars.

The thing that makes spam a unique, and subsequently the reason it increases every year, is that the cost of email is placed on the receiver rather than the sender. With traditional direct-mail, a person or company spends money on every piece sent. Think about the amount of junk mail you receive every day at your home and business. Now imagine if each piece of mail did not have a hard-cost for the sender — we would all need much larger mailboxes.

Spam can also hurt the reputation of your business as well. It is all too easy to “spoof” or fake the email address that an email shows it is being sent from. You certainly do not want customers and clients to receive junk or malware emails with your company’s name in the sender’s address bar. Spoofing email is, unfortunately, very easy to do as it exploits a level of trust that the basic email protocols use. I’m sure when these protocols were initially developed no one envisioned the future of email to be what it is. While there is no full-proof method to prevent email address spoofing, newer methods such as SPF records and the Sender ID framework are working to reduce it. It is important for businesses to put these new safeguards in place, as the sooner the adoption rate increases, the sooner more mail servers will start enforcing them.

Fortunately there are several hardware and software products that can be deployed to protect your business from spam and the security threats they bring. Depending on your email infrastructure, a dedicated-hardware solution may be the appropriate solution. For others, a third-party Software as a Service (SaaS) solution may be a better fit. Don’t worry if you don’t have existing personnel to put these solutions in place, a full-service Managed IT provider can help.

With the number of spam emails being sent increasing every day, it is important to make sure you have the necessary solutions in place to protect and prevent spam.

Karl Muhlbach is the President of Eukairos Technologies. With more than 20 years experience in Information Technology, Eukairos Technologies can custom design a solution for your small business to ensure all of your IT needs are met and exceeded.