Customers outsource to overcome anti-spam dissatisfaction

Australian enterprises are dissatisfied with antispam solutions, claiming there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to this particular technology.

According to research from Frost & Sullivan, spam is the number one concern for local enterprises, rating well ahead of viruses, worms, spyware and hack attacks.

The research covered 296 respondents 51 percent of which was from organizations with annual revenues in excess of $51 million.

Author of the report James Turner, said of all the threat management technologies, antispam had the lowest satisfaction rating.

"This is a clear sign that the market has unmet expectations," Turner said.

"Spam had the highest security incident rate of 77 percent and these respondents said their employees complained about spam.

"It is most definitely an issue for business and it is a long way from being fixed."

Turner said the top factors in order of importance for security offerings are quality, timeliness of support/updates, followed by cost.

He said spam is also seen as a problematic area due to the obligation of some organizations to retain e-mail for compliance reasons.

"A complete revision of e-mail architecture is required to help restore faith in an area of communication that could be so much better than it is," Turner added.

It is these issues that have led to a growing interest in managed security services.

Turner said the current market penetration of outsourcing security is broadly 41 percent and this rate is expected to increase significantly in the next three years.

To tackle user dissatisfaction, managed security service provider, MessageLabs, offers rigorous Service Level Agreements (SLA) such as a minimum 95 percent spam capture rate for e-mail clients and a false positive rate of one e-mail in 250,000. This latter figure equates to one false positive e-mail every 17 years, based on the messaging activity of the average e-mail user.

Advertising group Euro RSCG Worldwide has just inked a managed service deal with MessageLabs covering 1300 e-mail users across 16 Asia-Pacific region offices.

The company's CIO Ivan Glaser said before the MessageLabs deal, the entire region was operating under different rules with each office IT manager employing a different approach to spam.

"Now we have a universal approach that is easily managed and frees our IT staff from tasks such as identifying false positives," Glaser said.

"E-mail represents the lifeblood of any professional services organization so we need the best results."

Glaser said the previous in-house antispam system eliminated most of the spam, but what was left still irritated staff.

Since engaging MessageLabs, Glaser said spam levels have dropped to about 0.01 percent or about one e-mail every two weeks for the average user.

He said another bonus is that internally there is no need to maintain any infrastructure.

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