The 2004 E-mail Security Survey, which polled 125 European companies, found that 40% of firms are worried about the future of e-mail security.
Sixty per cent of firms believee-mail use will more than double in the next 10 years, but the same amount said they would give up e-mail if a viable alternative emerges and the threat posed by viruses, spam and other unwanted content is not contained.
However, Ashim Pal, vice-president at Meta Group, said it was unlikely that firms would abandon e-mail. "Current technology can deal with a lot of the spam - it gets dealt with at the network and gateway level," he said. Pal said a worse productivity problem than spam was work colleagues cc-ing each other on irrelevant e-mails.
Richard Edwards, research analyst at Butler Group, said there were readily available ways to deal with security, such as public key infrastructure. "Organisations have not seen fit to support PKI because nobody wants to have thousands of signatures to manage," he said.
Edwards said there were four secure e-mail systems under development: a sender policy framework; Microsoft's Sender ID; Yahoo's Domain Keys; and Secure Redirection, where e-mail is held at a secure web location.
A survey of 254 senior executives by AT&T and the Economist Intelligence Unit found that 78% consider computer security to be the most critical attribute of corporate networks.
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