Study: Business information gets lost in the e-mail

Survey outlines email manageability and security mess

A deluge of e-mail, proliferating personal and business addresses and lack of manageability are making e-mail more a hindrance than a help to many organizations, according to a new survey.

The survey of nearly 500 business users sponsored by JPY, a maker of e-mail management software, found that the world of business e-mail is more complicated than ever. For instance, three-quarters of respondents said they have a minimum of three e-mail addresses, with 13.8 percent using 10 or more addresses.

Multiple addresses are largely used to categorize incoming business mail, but have the side-effect of making e-mail harder to manage, JPY said.

e-mail commonly crosses borders between work and personal addresses, and users often need information found in an e-mail in another user's account, the survey found.

Nearly 60 percent of users send and receive business e-mail from personal accounts, and eight out of 10 use business accounts to send and receive personal e-mail, the survey found.

Nearly two-thirds said they sometimes needed access to information in an e-mail found in a colleague's account, for instance someone not currently in the office. The majority said they'd resolve the problem by bothering the IT department or getting the colleague to divulge his password, raising security and privacy concerns. Not surprisingly, 60 percent said they saw privacy issues in allowing others into their business account.

JPY said the findings show companies need to think seriously about how the business information held in e-mails is organized and managed.

"Without a robust strategy for managing the knowledge trapped in e-mail, securing it and using it for a business advantage, companies risk being held hostage by e-mail," said JPY managing director Dr John Yardley, in a statement.

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