May 21, 2012, 1:27 PM — Email managers have a lot at stake. After all, the volume of global electronic messages sent via email dwarfs all other forms of electronic communication, including social networking. Since the inception of electronic mail, which, according to some Internet historians, can be traced to a small mainframe app called 'MAILBOX' from the mid-1960s, human-to-human messages have been created, transmitted and stored in electronic format. But early email administrators could hardly have envisioned the complexity of current email infrastructure and the concomitant maze of technical, security, business and regulatory challenges.
Here are five common mistakes made by email managers, and how to avoid them by developing and implementing your own action plan.
Mistake 1: Pigeonholing email as just an IT function
Business managers know they have a working mail server and trusted individuals to maintain it. Box checked -- or is it? The mail administrator on the IT side is charged with keeping the mail server operational, performing backups, patching servers, supporting users and all the other technical and security details that attach to mail server administration.
But these functions represent just one of the many elements necessary to achieve fully effective email management.
Corporate espionage is on the rise. According to a recent report by the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, "The pace of foreign economic collection and industrial espionage activities against major U.S. corporations and U.S. government agencies is accelerating." Email has been identified as a primary means of leaking corporate secrets.
In a relatively small number of cases, security breaches are intentionally committed by individuals with malicious intent, but devastating security leaks can also occur quite innocently in organizations where policies, procedures and defense mechanisms are weak or non-existent.
Despite the fact that high-profile data thefts are made public almost daily, research shows that many email managers do not have adequate measures in place to protect against "exfiltration" of sensitive data. In a recent eMedia survey commissioned by Mimecast, a staggering 94% of network managers said they had no mechanisms in place to prevent confidential information leaving their network. Clearly there is a greater need for vigilance.