Stomping Out Spam: The Spam Series, Part 1
The onslaught of spam is spawning a growing spate of solutions. Join Jacqueline Emigh as she delves into the issue of how spam proliferates so quickly, and why it's driving administrators to deploy anti-spam products in droves.
Spam is jamming up mailboxes at increasing rates. More than just a bother for end users, unwanted e-mail can impact enterprise systems management by encroaching on bandwidth, storage space, and other network resources. While anti-spam legislation is on the horizon, experts agree filtering software is the most effective remedy at the moment. End user education doesn't hurt, either.
As spam continues to pour in, the market keeps exploding with more and more anti-spam products. In one recent report, GartnerGroup reviewed several anti-spam offerings and found that, "Of the 11 anti-spam products Gartner reviewed, five shipped credible versions for the first time in 2002. Another 14 were too new, untried or incomplete to include, and more products emerge each week," according to Maureen Grey, research director at Gartner.
"There are lots of hosted services, too," points out Dan Keldsen, an analyst at SummitStrategies. Some vendors, such as Brightmail, provide a choice of products or services.
Analysts expect the anti-spam market to shake out over the next few years. Meanwhile, if you're shopping around for remedies right now, it pays to learn as much as you can about just what you're up against.
"My Spam Isn't Necessarily Your Spam"
What exactly is spam, anyway? "My spam isn't necessarily your spam. An e-mail that advertises Viagra will qualify as spam to most people. A Viagra manufacturer, however, will undoubtedly disagree," notes Donald Haback, P.E., an analyst at the Matterhorn Group.
Many users regard any unsolicited e-mail as spam, states Martin Nelson, an analyst at Ferris Research. Nelson, though, offers the following as a current "industry" definition: "Unsolicited, commercial e-mail, usually sent in bulk."
How much spam is out there? Estimates range all over the map. Everyone agrees, though, that the problem is on the rise. The Radicati Group predicts that spam will proliferate from 15 billion pieces per day this year to 50 billion pieces per day by 2005.
According to Ferris Research, the average user will receive 10 spam messages per day by 2005, as opposed to merely three pieces in 2002. "But some users will receive much more, and others much less," claims Nelson.