The impact of spam on business operations
How much does spam actually impact business? Rather substantially, as it turns out. Help Net Security have reported on the findings of a survey by GFI software. The survey was done in the US, and consisted of 200 firms, with company size varying from a minimum of 5 employees up to 1000. The responders were generally IT administrators.
The main issues related to spam email are phishing attacks, which is where the email tries to trick a user in order to gain user credentials, and malware attacks, where an email installs malware on a user PC and/or corporate server. The survey looked at several specific areas of spam email, including dating email and banking email. According to the survey, 49% of spam email was classified as phishing email.
Malware being downloaded to a user machine and/or a server was the chief cause of disruption to business. 27% reported malware being downloaded as a result of a user clicking on a link. 22% reported network disruption due to a user responding to a spam email. The impact in terms of productivity is instructive. 48% of businesses lost up to 3 hours of productivity due to a spam related incident. 9% of firms surveyed have lost up to 9 productive hours, equating to just over a day of work.
This translates into a direct impact to the profitability of a business. One of the apposite finding of the survey was that 37% of firms said that employees often had to devote time to fighting spam. In terms of frequency of spam related incidents, 45% of firms reported up to three issues relating to spam email that caused impact to the business in a year. The full survey (together with a nice infographic) is available on the GFI website.
The article by Help Net Security, the GFI infographic, and a further piece from Topsec Technology underscores the continuing impact of spam email on businesses, as well as the financial cost. Defence in depth with email filtering and anti-virus are required to combat the threat of spam.