Spam email continues to surge, costing businesses around the world billions of dollars every year in reduced productivity, security breaches, and a myriad of other issues. In fact, network hardware company Cisco found that spam accounted for at least two thirds of all emails received last year. This statistic continues to rise, but spam email is far more than just a pervasive nuisance – it can also be extremely costly for your business in a variety of ways you might not be aware of.
Spam Email and Malware
Although malicious software has taken a backseat in recent years in favor of more effective social-engineering scams and compromised websites, spam email remains one of the most popular delivery channels for malicious software. Many spam emails come with attachments containing malware, often in the form of a document, ZIP file or, more rarely, an executable file. Opening the attachment will activate the malware, leaving it to infect your computer and even your whole network.
Many recent malware attacks, such as the infamous WannaCry ransomware back in May, arrived on victims’ computers in the form of email attachments either from unknown or compromised email addresses. Although many email service providers filter out most spam emails, particularly those that contain malicious attachments, you can never rely on them completely. Instead, you should avoid opening suspicious emails at all, and never open any unsolicited attachments.
Spam Email and Phishing
Phishing scams have become one of the most widespread cybersecurity issues of our time. They’re on compromised websites, instant messaging programs, spam emails and even delivered over SMS or VoIP communications. These scams use social engineering tactics to encourage victims to download malicious software or unwittingly give away confidential information, such as payment details or login information.
Email is the #1 delivery channel for phishing scams, with up to 90% of all such scams arriving by email. A phishing email likely won’t contain any attachments, but instead will intend to dupe the victim into taking the desired action by purporting to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or legal office. Phishing scams can be enormously costly for any company, particularly if they end up with a criminal obtaining confidential customer or corporate information. To reduce the risks, you’ll need to ensure your staff know how to identify suspicious emails.
Spam and Employee Productivity
Industry estimates put the cost of lost productivity due to spam email to as much as $20 billion per year. Although the advent of effective filters has made dealing with junk mail a lot easier, spam still leads to lost employee productivity by using up bandwidth and administration time. Although most spam emails will be caught by the filter, these filters will never be perfect. There will always be some emails that escape detection as well as those that end up being caught by the filters even when they’re legitimate.
One of the biggest sources of wasted time in the workplace is manually reviewing and deleting unwanted messages that aren’t caught by the spam filters. Other tasks associated with spam management include managing email bandwidth consumption and storage space, blacklisting offending email addresses, and maintaining strong anti spam filters. All these tasks take time that could otherwise be better spent on core business operations.
Unfortunately, spam email isn’t going away anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it getting in the way of your business. That’s why SpectrumWise is especially tough on spam with its strict anti-phishing rules and user-based filter settings. If you want to maximize employee productivity and keep your data safe, call us today to learn how we can help.