E-mail is arguably the most sensitive information application in a company's software suite. With e-mail downtime, corporate data loss, and financial threats being major concerns for any business, strong e-mail security is a must. For companies where employees cannot send communications through e-mail, business relationships with partners, customers, and other constituents can grind to a halt, resulting in executive panic. However, with differences in culture, markets, operations, and business models, companies all have varying IT requirements that continue to fuel the need for choices in the e-mail security space.
[ See which e-mail security service wins in InfoWorld's comparisons: "Test Center: E-mail security services square off" and "Test Center guide: Mail security appliances." | Learn more about fighting spam with Exchange 2007. ]
To protect against e-mail-borne threats, IT professionals can approach security from three angles: 1) by deploying on-premise software, 2) by deploying an on-premise security appliance, or 3) by contracting with a hosted e-mail security provider. Each approach has pros and cons, and the decision as to which to use depends on your specific corporate requirements. But here are the top 10 areas* to consider when researching e-mail security for your organization:
- Lowest total cost of ownership, upfront capital investment, ongoing administration, and user training
- Access to experienced live customer support to quickly address issues
- Preservation of network and server bandwidth
- Processing of security threats inside or outside the corporate perimeter
- Fastest time to value delivery -- can it be deployed and working quickly?
- Reduced risk -- ensuring your choice does not introduce a single point of failure within the organization
- Interoperability with network systems and software
- Multiple layers of protection against spam, malware, phishing, viruses, vulnerabilities, and other attacks
- Simple operation and management to reduce IT burden and allow focus on more strategic IT initiatives
- Very little or no user training requirements
*List is restructured version from a Mailprotector security presentation.
Of the three approaches to address e-mail security, software is arguably the most popular.