Email Management For Dummies

Updated: April 30, 2009

What is email management?

Email management encompasses four areas: Security, Backup/Storage/Recover, Spam and Virus Protection, and Compliance. Each of those categories can be subdivided by technology class and coverage. While not every company will need top of the line products in all categories, no business, regardless of size, should be completely vulnerable in any area. As with almost all business decisions, the trick is finding the solution that matches a business' needs without providing unnecessary features or costs.

Why do I need email management?

Email management is a critical component in business success. Done well, it protects valuable business assets, from intellectual property to business strategy. It can also reduce litigation costs and speed recovery in disaster scenarios . Further, because email is both ubiquitous and cheap, it is the easy choice for maldoers looking to cast a large net. Spam, the current choice du jour for many criminals looking to steal valuable information, is a continually growing threat: according to IronPort , an email management vendor, there were roughly 86 billion spam messages per day in the month of November, 2006, up from 5 billion per day in June of 2006. Ferris research put the estimated cost of those spam messages at $51 billion per year. If it's not currently a problem for a business, chances are that spam issues are just over the horizon.

What do I need in email management?

Email management encompasses a large swath of technologies, not all of which will be important for every company. However, all companies should have basic processes or solutions in the following areas:

  • Spam filtering

  • Virus protection

  • Email capture, storage, and recovery

  • Compliance databases (with a particular emphasis on creating strong search features within the system)

  • Security (both of email systems and of message content)

Again, not every company will need the highest level offering in each of those categories, and should therefore evaluate their own needs before looking at vendor offerings

Where do I get email management?

Businesses have a wide variety of sources to choose from when considering email management options. While there are point solutions for every niche, most vendors fall into one of three categories: those with spam-filtering and virus-protection offerings, those with email capture, storage, recovery and compliance offerings, and those who bundle everything together. Because the smaller groupings tend to be more focused, they can often offer a greater level of service at a lower cost. However, those potential savings can be consumed in the process of integrating heterogeneous email management products. With some very relevant exceptions, point products can be a good option for smaller businesses, while more integrated packages can work well for larger organizations.

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