Lessons Learned in Dealing with Spam Today Will Lead to Better Management of All Email Content Tomorrow, According to IDC

FRAMINGHAM, MA – August 31, 2004 – Email users are successfully navigating their way through the waves of spam and retention requirements. However, the need for better management of email-based collaboration and content remains a top challenge, according to IDC. With 12 billion spam messages to be sent daily next year in North America alone, in addition to 13 billion person-to-person emails and 6 billion email alerts and notifications, email solution providers and their customers must act to ensure that email remains an effective tool for business and consumer users.

The need to comply with email retention policies dictated by government and industry regulations and business requirements, as well as rising volumes of all types of email, are increasing the cost of storing and managing email throughout its life-cycle. The size of business email volumes sent annually worldwide exceeded 1 exabyte for the first time last year, according to IDC (Note: 1 exabyte = 1 thousand petabytes = 1 million terabytes = 1 billion gigabytes).

"Email users and IT staff are finding ways to deal with spam more effectively. The big challenge that remains is to leverage the lessons learned and the investments made bringing spam under control to help users and their employers manage all inbound and outbound email content to satisfy worker efficiency, corporate governance and regulatory compliance requirements," said Mark Levitt, research vice president for IDC's collaborative computing service.

Robert Mahowald, research manager for IDC's collaborative computing service added, "Email is frequently the point of entry for spam, viruses, and other IT headaches, and users often struggle to keep up with mail overload, regulatory compliance, and inbox management. Add to that the fact that more email-capable mobile devices mean increased mail volume and mailbox synchronization and management. These new threats — and opportunities — for the future of the inbox mean that email proponents will need to find ways to improve its security and flexibility without sacrificing its usefulness."

IDC's sixth annual study, Worldwide Email Usage 2004-2008 Forecast: Spam Today, Other Content Tomorrow (IDC #31782) examines how email is, and will be, used for business and personal purposes. Insights on how email usage is changing based on a 10+ year perspective (1997-2008) is provided, including trends and analysis on topics ranging from emailboxes, users, primary access methods, free Webmail, and volumes of different types of email including person-to-person emails, spam, and email alerts and notifications. New to the study this year are IDC's forecasts of the size of business email volumes sent. Please note that this study focuses on overall email usage trends and does not provide information about individual email companies, products, or services.

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