Spam email is nothing new. We’re all used to receiving spam messages, and having an overflowing junk folder is just part of having an email account. In fact, we may joke about the particularly funny or cringe-worthy spam emails we happen to find when we peruse that junk folder. Luckily, email filtering has gotten pretty good—most of us only see a fraction of the spam that’s sent to us actually make it to our inboxes.
But, have you ever stopped to wonder what goes into stemming the spam tide? Over 409 billion spam messages were sent per day in September 2019 compared to just under 69 billion legitimate emails. If you’re doing the math, that means a meager 14 percent of your email isn’t spam! What’s worse, the volume of spam is continuing to increase.
Chances are, your company is paying for a variety of different solutions to deal with spam. Even though your internet service provider (ISP) is also shouldering some of the burden, you have probably purchased email software with advanced filtering capabilities to catch incoming spam. Plus, you likely have additional bandwidth and storage space to handle all those stuffed-to-the-brim junk folders without bogging down your network.
If not, you’re likely paying for spam with lost employee productivity instead—and perhaps even risking a business-ruining data breach.
Phishing Emails Are the Worst Spam
It’s true that more sophisticated phishing emails—which are a particularly harmful type of spam—might be beating all your best defenses. And that could cost you in much more devastating ways if an employee accidentally opens an infected attachment or falls for a well-crafted social engineering scam that exposes your network.
Unfortunately, few people realize how costly email spam can be for their business.
The Origins of Spam
Spam has been around since the late 70’s—in fact, it just celebrated its 40th birthday on May 3rd of 2018, the anniversary of an incident where 400 early email users received the same advertisement. Electronic chain letters were another common form of early spam that continues today. (And has morphed to infect our social media feeds, too.)
In 2000, Nigerian fraud spam emails gained their notoriety. And, in 2009, spam was estimated to cost $130 billion globally. Today, that number is much higher.
Spam Costs You More Than Just Money
While you likely haven’t taken the time to calculate just how much money your business spends on anti-spam and related technology resources per employee, various survey data going back as far as 2003 has estimated that spam costs an average of anywhere from $712 to $2,000 per employee each year!
That cost isn’t just hard dollars spent on software solutions, however. The real cost of spam infiltrating your employees’ inboxes is more than just money.
Companies can expect to see spam lead to:
Added Bandwidth and Storage Expenses
It’s true that data storage and high-speed internet access are both much less costly today than they once were thanks to cloud solutions and expanding global infrastructure. However, your business may still be hitting bandwidth and storage limits—and shelling out for more of each—because individual file sizes keep growing.
And, with the uptick in email being sent across the board, servers are getting jammed as employees can hardly keep up with the volume in their inboxes. Plus, if spam is simply being pushed into rarely-emptied junk folders, you’re spending money to store untold gigabytes of worthless messages no one will ever read.
If your business isn’t currently taking serious steps to prevent spam, you probably don’t realize just how much time your employees are wasting every single day. Even if they are only spending a few seconds to get rid of each unopened spam message, it adds up to minutes a day, hours a month, and days a year, all dedicated to hitting that ‘delete’ button.
While difficult to quantify, lost time is lost revenue for most small businesses. Don’t let spam continue to create an unnecessary expense for your business when there are options to increase efficiency.
Unreasonable Anti-Spam Filtering and Software Costs
Do you know how much your business spends on your email software and handling today? This may include upkeep on your own email server, though many smaller companies cannot justify the expense of maintaining their own server. (Spoiler alert: you can get professional business email for less than you’d expect—ask us how!)
Instead, you may be paying an IT resource to patch together some email software that’s perhaps not even meeting your needs—such as providing industry-leading encryption—or maybe you’re DIY-ing your email in-house. Either way, you’re likely paying too much to deal with email.
Disaster Recovery Expenses
As we mentioned at the top of this post, phishing emails are getting more dangerous all the time as hackers and spammers come up with new ways to get around anti-spam defenses. While your employees may be savvy enough to avoid falling for phishing tricks, just one errant click could set off a chain of events that leads to a data breach—we all make mistakes now and then, unfortunately. And the cost to recover your data and deal with the fallout from one small email “oops” could be jaw-droppingly high.
It’s sobering to see just how powerful junk mail can be!
A Note About Internal Spam
Any email not related to an employee’s work might be considered internal spam, even if it’s benign content like jokes, links to YouTube videos, and memes shared between co-workers.
But, it’s also possible for work-related emails to fall under this category, as well. Office memos or emails that copy the entire staff, which are not relevant to everyone certainly count. Despite being related to the workplace, these emails are often unwanted by many of the employees who receive them, and that affects productivity. Think before you click “reply all.”
The Real Danger of Internal Spam
Even the best anti-spam software won’t filter inner-office emails as spam because they’re sent from official email addresses. Employees are more likely to waste time on the emails sent to the entire staff because they were copied and because they were sent by supervisors and co-workers.
The time spent opening, reading, and dismissing these emails adds up and can cost companies significant amounts of time and money, just like external spam.
Are You Ready to Get Serious About Cutting Out Spam in Your Central PA Business?
To make sure you’re doing everything you can to combat email spam while cutting down on the costs associated with it, it’s essential to have a team of responsive, local IT professionals ready to guide you.
Get in touch with us here at EZComputer Solutions today to begin safeguarding your business’s network against time-wasting spam. And, don’t forget to claim your copy of our helpful Ebook, Protect Your Network: What Every Business Owner Must Know About Their Network.
October 2019 Update to Post from February 2016