State of Internet security: protecting business email

Webroot released its latest research report, “State of Internet Security: Protecting Business Email.” The report reveals the significant impact that rapidly growing email security threats, in size and volume, are having on businesses worldwide and underscores the need for a multi-layered approach to Internet security.

Along with the rapid growth in spam, there is a similarly rapid growth in malware. Industry research shows that malware jumped from about 50,000 variants in 2004 to 5.5 million in 2007. Webroot research found that spam has become a significant vector of attack for deploying these new malware variants. But, while companies are seeing an increased malware threat to their email, they are still using it to gather and exchange vital customer and employee information such as credit card numbers and other confidential financial data. About one out of five businesses that responded to the survey experienced a threat to sensitive or confidential online information last year underscoring the growing need for securing and storing business email.

In the “State of Internet Security: Protecting Business Email” report, Webroot studied email-related threats and the latest methods to protect business email. Webroot surveyed approximately 1,500 email security product decision-makers in companies across seven countries: Australia, Canada, France Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Key Findings at a Glance:
Email is Business Critical

  • According to IDC, over 6.62 trillion business emails will be exchanged in 2008;and,
  • Three-fourths of Webroot survey respondents rely on email for communicating with customers and providing customer support.

Risks to and from Email are Prevalent

  • More than half surveyed experienced spyware and virus attacks via email and over 40 percent experienced a phishing attack;
  • About one out of five organizations reported that sensitive online transactions were threatened and confidential information was compromised as a result of spam;
  • Over 60 percent of respondents had at least one email outage in 2007; and
  • One out of three survey respondents said that the hourly cost of an email outage is over $1,000.

Employee Behavior Increases Email Security Risks

  • Individual email users open messages before realizing they are spam, open messages in junk folders and even make purchases from emails marked as spam;
  • The 2007 eCrime Watch report found that current employees were second only to hackers as groups that pose the greatest cyber security threat to organizations; and
  • One out of three organizations reported employee misuse of email resources.

Few Companies Have Protective Policies in Place

  • Less than a third of organizations surveyed have key employee email security policies in place; and,
  • Less than half of companies with more than 100 computers have policies in place to restrict employees’ personal email use.Â

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