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Infosec: Anti-spam and anti-virus measures are IT’s top concern, finds research

Spam and virus protection are top email priorities, with 3 in 4 businesses still not keen on cloud

London, UK – 21 April 2011 — Mimecast®, a leading supplier of cloud-based email security, continuity and archiving, has today released research revealing that IT teams are still struggling to protect their businesses from spam email and viruses. The research also finds that the majority of organisations are yet to embrace the benefits of cloud-based email, while struggling to cope with an increasingly complex email environment.

Mimecast logoThe research, which surveyed IT and security professionals on the first day of the Infosecurity Europe conference in London, found that anti-spam and anti-virus is by far the biggest headache for IT teams; 78 percent of respondents identified it as their top email concern. With 72 percent saying that their current spam prevention system is not ‘very effective’, it is clear that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to protecting employees from malicious email.

“Although spam and virus concerns are by no means a new phenomenon, it is very surprising that more than three quarters of IT managers still see them as their biggest email headache,” commented Barry Gill, Product Marketing Manager at Mimecast. “This is perhaps a sign that IT teams should be re-examining the way that they counter these threats. For instance by working with a cloud specialist, under pressure IT teams can gain access to a level of security resources and expertise that simply isn’t sustainable in-house.”

Despite cloud dominating much of the talk at this year’s Infosecurity Europe, it seems cloud adopters remain in a minority. The research reveals that three quarters of organisations (75 percent) are still entirely reliant on an on-premise email architecture. 12 percent of businesses now have a fully cloud-based email environment with 13 percent using a combination of on-premise and cloud-based email technology.

“Although cloud-based email services seem to still be in the minority, there is a clear appetite for the kind of benefits that the cloud can deliver,” Gill continued. “51 percent of respondents identified ‘unlimited email storage’ as the one thing that would make managing their email environment easier, while 22 percent said they would want a system that could be managed more simply.”

Email policy was another area of concern at Infosecurity Europe 2011 with 48 percent of organisations struggling to strike a balance over the use of personal email accounts, such as Hotmail or Gmail, in the workplace. 27 percent admitted that the use of personal email at work was a ‘huge problem’ and a ‘severe’ security threat. More concerning however are the 16 percent of businesses who allow employees to use their personal Hotmail or Gmail account for work use because it ‘suits users’ needs more than our business systems’. Five percent of organisations have banned the use of personal email accounts at work altogether.

Gill continued; “Email policies need to evolve to reflect the high levels of sophistication among today’s email users. Sending work-related emails and documents from personal email accounts represents a major security threat but, due to the user-friendly nature of systems like Gmail, it is becoming all too common. In many instances employees know how they should be behaving but they choose to ignore corporate email policy so that they can use the tool they feel they need to get the job done. IT teams should be looking to improve their own systems so that they are reliable, flexible and user-friendly enough that employees do not feel the need to go elsewhere.”

Mimecast’s Justin Pirie spoke at Infosec about the threats user behaviour and personal email poses to business. To find out more, download Mimecast’s Generation Gmail report at: http://www.mimecast.com/News-and-views/White-papers-Reports-and-analysis/Dates/2011/3/Generation-Gmail-Report/