Spam Costs, Volumes Soar Despite New Laws

 
 
By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-06-08
 
 
 

The cost of spam is escalating for enterprises as the amount of unsolicited e-mail being sent continues to reach new heights, two new reports revealed this week.

The cost of spam has more than doubled for enterprises in the past 10 months, costing an average of $1,934 per employee a year based on lost productivity, according to a survey released Monday by Nucleus Research Inc. The cost in July 2003 was $874 per employee a year.

The latest figure is based on a May survey of 82 Fortune 500 companies, in which enterprise users reported receiving twice as many unsolicited messages as they had 10 months earlier, for an average of 29 a day, according to Wellesley, Mass.-based Nucleus.

Meanwhile, the latest monthly spam figures released Tuesday by e-mail security provider MessageLabs Ltd. show spam volumes reaching new heights. In May, 76 percent of inbound e-mails scanned by MessageLabs were spam, up from 67 percent a month earlier.

Spams intensifying plague comes despite a federal law, called the CAN-SPAM Act, enacted six months ago to curb the flow of spam. CAN-SPAM, among other things, made it a crime to send e-mail messages with forged headers. Companies such as Microsoft Corp. have vowed to use the law to sue spammers.

Click here to read more about recent discussions concerning CAN-SPAM in the U.S. Senate.

Along with the new law having little effect so far on spam in the enterprise, Nucleus also found that spam filters themselves are having less impact.

Companies with spam filters received 20 percent less spam in the May survey, compared with 26 percent less spam 10 months earlier.

Nucleus cited increasing spam volumes and reluctance among enterprises to use the most aggressive filtering techniques as the causes for the drop in filter effectiveness.

"Although companies should continue to deploy and upgrade to the most current versions of their spam-filtering solutions, eliminating spam necessitates a strategy that combines technical and legal devices," Nucleus suggested in its report.

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