Mobile Email Causing Security Concerns for IT: Report

The rise of mobile email is causing concerns for IT departments, though they are aware of the overall risks, a report suggests.

The changing nature of employee email use has the potential to greatly impact the security of the information, while IT departments are concerned about the security implications of mobile email and remote access to emails (39 percent and 41 percent, respectively, cite it as a concern), according to a report released by Mimecast, a supplier of cloud-based email archiving, security and continuity for Microsoft Exchange and Office 365.

Mimecast€™s inaugural "The Shape of Email" report, which is based on a poll of IT departments on email practices and the contents of the average employee inbox, found just 25 percent of email is considered essential for work purposes, with an additional 14 percent categorized as being of "critical importance." Nearly two out of three (61 percent) of emails are not considered essential, and an estimated 7 percent of emails inside the average inbox are considered to be spam or junk.

€œThe Shape of Email is a starting point in helping us understand the quality of the information residing in the inboxes of organizations across the world,€ Nathaniel Borenstein, chief scientist at Mimecast, said in a press statement. €œWhat is clear is that the average employee faces a significant challenge in simply processing the information that comes into their inbox and identifying which messages are genuinely business-critical.€

The report also found that despite the increasing perceived risk from mobile emails, IT departments are still more focused on email-based viruses (55 percent), and email security breaches in general (55 percent). The business use of social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter have increased the risk of information leaks (cited by 59 percent of respondents), and 55 percent said they believe the overall risk of security breaches is also increased. LinkedIn, which recently suffered a major security breach of its own, was the most-used social networking site, with 55 percent of respondents using it, followed by Facebook with 47 percent.

€œWe often end up working for email, rather than having email work for us,€ Borenstein continued. €œEmail will remain a fundamental business tool for many years to come. It is the global standard, but not always the gold standard. It is therefore vital that email can continue to develop and adapt as technology and working practices change. By creating 'The Shape of Email Report,' we hope to deepen our collective understanding of the current state of enterprise inboxes, which should help us understand where email is going.€