SurveyWatch: "Magic" statistic dazzles vendor into action

Industry observers were not stunned when a single percentage point's worth of difference energised a security vendor's media team into action.

In a move that stunned no industry observers today, email security vendor Proofpoint decided that a single percentage point's worth of difference was sufficiently interesting to rally its media people and build a press release around.

The company concluded that the mathematical proportion of 51% - a single percentage point above one half - warranted the sending of an estimated many thousands of emails to inboxes nationwide.

According to the press release, a study has revealed 51% of enterprises care more about losing confidential data through outbound email than they do about the problem of inbound spam.

An anonymous insider revealed there had been some dissent prior regarding the title of the release prior to it being issued.

"A few of us wanted to call it The Bare Slightest of a Majority Might Care A Little More About Data Leakage than Spam - Maybe," the insider said, but this was immediately dismissed as 'lacking zing'.

The release was ultimately given the title Data Leakage Via Email Generates More Concern than Spam, clearly concealing any mention of the utter insignificance of the finding.

The statistic appears to be being treated as some kind of 'magic number' by the vendor, appearing twice in the release, representing two totally different findings.

The odds of this happening - two findings resulting in the exact same proportion - are one in ten thousand, or 0.01%.

A press release on the significance of this insignificance is not expected from Proofpoint.

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