Survey: More Large Companies Employing E-Mail Monitors

June 6, 2005 ( - A survey by a Cuppertino, California e-mail security firm found that more than six in 10 large companies either have assigned or plan to assign staff to monitor outbound e-mail.

A news release from Proofpoint Inc. said that 36.1% of respondents at companies with 1,000 or more workers already have e-mail monitors in place, while another 26.5% plan to add such positions. In the largest firms (those with more than 20,000 employees) this practice is even more common, the survey found. Some 40% employ staff to monitor e-mail and an additional 32% plan to employ such staff in the future.

Specifically, according to the news release, companies are most concerned about ensuring:

  • that e-mail isn’t used to leak company trade secrets or other forms of intellectual property
  • compliance with corporate email policies
  • compliance with financial disclosure regulations
  • that e-mail can’t be used to leak confidential internal memos.

Respondents also expressed an increasingly high degree of concern about compliance with health care and financial privacy regulations, such as HIPAA and Gramm-Leach-Bliley.

Other key findings from the survey, which was fielded by Forrester Consulting, include that a third of respondents investigated a suspected e-mail leak of confidential data in the last year, that more than a quarter have fired an employee for e-mail policy violations in the last year, that just over one in 10 have been ordered to produce employee e-mail to a court or regulator in the last year, and that IT professionals are most worried about Web-based e-mail and instant messaging after regular e-mail.

Results of the survey are here .