ZIFFPAGE TITLEManaging People With Policies
The first step has little to do with technology. Its a people problem.
At its most basic, e-mail is simply a communication between a sender and a receiver. If the IT department has any hope of fixing the spam problem, it has to focus first on the receiver. Your companys e-mail use policies need to be crystal clear, defining the kinds of communications allowed for every position in the organization. If you dont want administrative assistants to be e-mailing their mothers all the time, or salespeople to forward every dumb joke they receive to all 500 of their pals in the company, then make sure they know its against the rules.
Your corporate culture will determine how far those policies can go in strictly mandating e-mail use. Financial-services organizations often have locked-down standards that give users little wiggle room, while universities are constrained by very specificand very liberal notions on the part of users about how broadly their rights are defined.
Train users in whats acceptable in terms of internal and external communications. Some companies workers regularly copy everyone on every e-mail they send, creating dozens of long message threads that qualify in some recipients minds as "unsolicited bulk e-mail." Employees should also learn to reduce the frequency with which they provide their e-mail addresses to unfamiliar Web sites, a habit that virtually guarantees their inclusion on spam lists.
Your Webmasters should also be involved. Brightmail CTO Ken Schneider says e-mail addresses listed on HTML pages such as your companys "contact us" page are the single largest source of target addresses for spammers. Marketers can simply point a software "spider" to look for e-mail addresses on your site, then drop them into spam lists. Remove text e-mail addresses wherever possible, and consider using digital GIF images to confuse the spiders.
Ultimately, well-designed and managed e-mail policies can significantly reduce the amount of spam targeting your users, as well as increase overall productivity by promoting more effective internal communicationswhether users initially want to help or not. "You have to protect them from themselves as best you can," says Julian Field, teaching systems manager in electronics and computer science at the University of Southampton in Southampton, England.
Ask Your Human Resources Department Chief:
Ask Your CTO:
Tell Your Users: