Do You Know What Junk Email Costs Your Business?

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

I used to think of junk email (spam) as just minor nuisance. Not so anymore. Today, spam is a major problem that costs businesses more than $100 billion a year in lost productivity and mitigation and prevention measures.

Spam used to be sent primarily by small time hackers trying to sell hair restoration, fake university degrees, and of course, anatomy enhancement pills.

The junk mail to real mail ratio was small, and spam didn’t take up a lot of room in email boxes. Spam didn’t place a huge burden on email servers, and they were easy to block.

Today, small time scammers are still responsible for some of those spams. The majority, however, are the work of organized criminals who use spyware and botnets to flood inboxes with an unprecedented amount of junkmail.

Spam profits can be huge. Hot stock tip scams, where criminals use spam to artificially create interest in a stock and raise the share price, can net the spammers millions of dollars.

Phishing scams, designed to steal your identity, can provide criminals with access to a mass amount of credit card data and sensitive corporate information.

Estimates put the cost of phishing alone at more than $8 billion in 2009.

With so much money at stake, spammers are constantly looking for new ways to get their junk emails past spam filters and to make their scams appear more convincing.

It has also drove an increase in the volume of junk mail. More than 2.8 million emails are sent every second – over 247 billion per day. Over 90% of that is junk email.

The cost to business
So, how does spam cost your business money?

Lost productivity: Experts put the labor cost of deleting each junk email at around four cents. By itself, that’s not all that significant. Multiply that, though, by perhaps 20 employees, each deleting 50 junk emails per day, and you’ll be spending over $14,000 over the course of a year.

Computer and network costs: Spam sucks up Internet bandwidth, and server storage space, both of which are significant costs to your business. This is especially true since a lot of spammers are using attachments to get around spam filters.

Security breaches and infections: Most malware and spyware infections are distributed via hacked websites. Even so, email has become more and more popular for infecting innocent users.

If your network becomes infected as the result of spammed spyware or malware, you’ll be facing a potentially expensive clean-up operation.

Phishing emails can lead to the exposure of sensitive corporate or financial information.

What you can do
The most effective way to prevent spam is to block it before you see it. We have dozens of clients with several hundred e-mail accounts currently utilizing our e-mail filtering system. We eliminate over 98% of the junk mail you normally would receive before our clients ever see it.

Our Experts Total Defense spam filtering system lets only the relevant and important messages come through.

You’ll have a clean inbox every day, and your Blackberry won’t ring all day with junk emails. You and your staff will become much more efficient and e-mail will be more useful again.

Plus, Experts Total Defense offers email archiving and off-site storage, saving valuable drive space on your servers.

You can use our filtering system if you have email hosted with us, or if you have your own in-house e-mail server (like Microsoft Exchange and Small Business Server). Give me a call if you’d like more information.