Spam, viruses top messaging pros' woes

What e-mail problems keep CIOs up at night? A recent study got to the bottom of managers' messaging worries.

CHICAGO -- Spam control and virus protection top the list of CIOs' and IT managers' concerns when it comes to enterprise

messaging systems, according to new survey data from Ferris Research.

After spam and viruses, the survey found that compliance regulations, Microsoft's pricing policies and denial of service (DoS) attacks round out the top five messaging concerns that keep CIOs up at night.

David Ferris, principal analyst with the San Francisco-based research firm, presented the results of his company's survey at this month's Enterprise Messaging Decisions conference. The survey was given to 11,000 IT professionals representing various industries and asked respondents to rate their company's level of concern on messaging issues.

Enterprise Messaging Decisions attendees unanimously agreed that protection against viruses and spam is the top concern among their higher-ups.

Richard Santella, an Exchange administrator with Information Systems Support, a Chesapeake, Va.-based government contractor for the U.S. Navy, said that legal concerns are also taking center stage at his organization.

Santella said that keeping up with the data storage regulations is a major challenge. "We thought that we satisfied some of the requirements, but we were mistaken," he said. "It just gets your head spinning."

High-profile cases, such as the arrest and conviction of Frank Quattrone, have made regulatory compliance a high-profile issue within Santella's company. Quattrone, a star investment banker who helped companies like Amazon and Netscape go public, was convicted earlier this month of witness tampering and obstruction of justice. A damning piece of evidence was an e-mail Quattrone sent to his colleagues that warned them to clean up their files.

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Legal issues aren't such a big concern in Europe, according to Helen Duffy, a messaging manager with the Bank of Ireland in Dublin. "We don't have the same legal problems that you have here," she said, adding that the IT executives she knows are more concerned with consolidating messaging systems right now.

One conference attendee, an information services administrator for a global fragrance firm, said that while cost and ROI are major considerations at many companies, they're not so high on the list at his company.

"We have what we have, we've already paid for it, and it works," said the IS administrator, who asked not to be identified. He said his firm is currently piloting the BrightMail anti-spam filter on his company's Domino server after limited success with MailSweeper.

TechTarget is the organizer of Enterprise Messaging Decisions 2004 and owner of the family of Web sites that includes SearchCIO.com.

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