E-Mail Management

Be a Spam Slayer

Von Alice Dragoon
Spam ist die Plage jeder Mailbox. Doch der allgegenwärtige Werbemüll bietet CIOs durch Gegenmaßnahmen auch die Chance, bei Kollegen und Nutzern positiv aufzufallen.

Quelle: CIO, USA

MATT KESNER HAS been in IT long enough to take silence as a compliment. "People don't often come down to IT to say, 'Nice job," says the CTO of Fenwick & West, a national law firm. "The best you get is that they don't come down at all when things are running well."

But then Kesner tackled the firm's spam problem, and suddenly he found himself a hero. After he outsourced the problem to a managed service provider, the law firm's partners (whose time is worth $350 to $600 an hour) were no longer spending more than an hour a day wading through 300 to 500 spam messages to get as many legitimate messages. "We got quite a few pats on the back and attaboys after putting the spam filter in place. Users saw the difference instantly and are dealing with hundreds fewer messages a day. They actually got excited about it."

Unlike the invisible foe of Y2K, the scourge of spam - which plagues receptionists and CEOs alike - is painfully evident to everyone. Now that spam accounts for 40 percent to 60 percent of most organizations' e-mail traffic, you scarcely need to mention that Ferris Research says spam will cost U.S. businesses at least $10 billion this year, or that Nucleus Research estimates that companies forfeit $874 per employee annually in lost productivity alone. Nor do you have to bring up the fact that spam clogs e-mail systems and siphons IT resources away from legitimate business projects. Spam is a royal pain in the server, and we all know it.

As Kesner has discovered, the sheer ubiquitousness of spam affords CIOs a rare opportunity to look good. Although receiving some spam is inevitable (and employees' expectations should be set accordingly), there's plenty you can do to make things better. In fact, there's plenty you should do, since the problem is only going to get worse, and you can't count on antispam legislation to save the day. (Criminalizing spam would simply drive more spammers to send their messages through offshore ISPs.) Solve the spam problem - or even just put a big dent in it - and you too can be a hero. Here's a look at how otherwise mild-mannered CIOs are leaping into the spam fray to help keep e-mail viable for users.

The Spam Balancing Act

What makes it so hard to write antispam laws or antispam software is that there's no such thing as a universal litmus test for spam. "One person's spam is another person's newsletter," says Eric Ogren, a senior analyst at the Yankee Group. "There's no magic widget the CIO can put in front of the e-mail server and spam goes away."

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