Companies Turn Watchful Eye Toward Outbound E-mail

July 12, 2004 ( - More than four in 10 (43%) corporations with more than 20,000 workers assign employees to read the firm's outgoing e-mail.

A study conducted by Forrester Consulting for Proofpoint, an e-mail systems provider, found that the sharp jump in such e-monitoring is an effort to stop the leak of intellectual property, confidential memos and embarrassing information from the company.

Respondents to the study also expressed major concern about ensuring that e-mails leaving the enterprise comply with personal, financial and health care privacy requirements such as those in Sarbanes-Oxley, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and HIPAA regulations.

The report also found

  • More than a third of all companies reported that they conduct regular audits of outbound email content while, for large firms, the e-mail audit figure is 38%.
  • More than 30% of all companies reported that they employ staff to monitor outbound email content. This technique is even more prevalent in large organizations; 43.6% of companies with more than 20,000 employees charge specific staff members with monitor outbound e-mail.
  • Less than 12% of companies report that they have deployed technology for detecting intellectual property breaches in outbound email. The most common technique used for detecting these emails remains physical review by hired staff.

Almost 75% of companies with 20,000 or more employees said that reducing the financial and legal risks associated with outbound email is an “important” or “very important” goal over the next 12 months.

A copy of the report is at .