[ISN] Big companies employing snoopers for staff email

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Wed Jul 21 2004 - 06:49:35 PDT


By Jo Best 
July 19 2004 

Large companies are now so concerned about the contents of the 
electronic communications leaving their offices that they're employing 
staff to read employees' outgoing emails. 

According to research from Forrester Consulting, 44 per cent of large 
corporations in the US now pay someone to monitor and snoop on what's 
in the company's outgoing mail, with 48 per cent actually regularly 
auditing email content. 

The Proofpoint-sponsored study found the motivation for the mail 
paranoia was mostly due to fears that employees were leaking 
confidential memos and other sensitive information, such as 
intellectual property or trade secrets, with 76 per cent of IT 
decision makers concerned about the former and 71 per cent concerned 
about the latter. 

Porn and ropey jokes still figure on the list of concerns for execs, 
though, with 64 per cent admitting to worrying about "inappropriate 
content and attachments" on the emails. 

What worries those in charge of tech most about their staff emails 
differs depending on the size of the business, the study found. 

The smaller the enterprise, the more likely it was to worry more about 
attachments and less likely to be troubled by the possibility the 
email won't be up to compliance standards set by Sarbanes-Oxley and 
other legislation. 

Understandably, with Basel II and similar looming, financial services 
was the vertical that is the most concerned with meeting compliance 
targets - as they should be, it appears. A survey of UK financial 
institutions found that around half would be unable to find an email 
over three years old; storing email is a key demand of the new 

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