5 common email management mistakes

Email has become a critical tool for most businesses, making email management one of IT’s most important tasks. 

A recent Gartner survey found that companies typically have 75% of their intellectual property stored on company email, so it’s hard to underestimate the importance of managing it well.

Here are five mistakes that IT managers should avoid at all costs when looking after their company’s email:

#1. Strict storage policies

Businesses may have to pay more for large amounts of inbox space, but introducing strict policies which involve automatic deletion is rarely a smart idea. The majority of old emails might be of little use, but it could one day be important to access records of conversations for legal reasons.

IT managers should instead do for email what they would for other business records: ensure that employees have the appropriate folders for storing old emails. Using backup tapes as an archive may seem like a smart idea, but in practice these are not designed for exploration or retrieval.

#2. Complacency with spam and phishing

The fight against spam and phishing emails has certainly improved. The advances in filters and anti-spam legislation have made annoying and sometimes malicious emails a far less common occurrence for email users to have to deal with. However, the battle is far from over.

In Q1 2013, two out of every three emails sent were spam, so it is almost inevitable that the occasional unwanted email might bypass the filters and end up in a user’s inbox.

IT managers need to continue keeping up to date with the latest advances in spam filtering technology in order to try and prevent this. They should also ensure that employees are aware of the correct procedure to follow when they discover suspicious-looking emails.

#3. Not protecting failover servers

Failover email servers, which kick in automatically if the main server becomes unavailable, are a crucial tool when it comes to supplying impressive uptime levels.

However, some IT managers do make the potentially fatal mistakes of failing to protect the failover servers as well as they do their primary ones. This may seem forgivable as failovers are rarely used, but the more sophisticated hackers and spammers are aware of this common mistake and may be able to launch attacks during failover usage. If these backup servers aren’t monitored as sharply as main email servers, then these attacks could potentially go undetected.

#4. Failing to plan for IVP6

Planning for IVP6 might not be at the top of an IT manager’s priority list, but its launch should be something on their radar. IVP6 adoption was estimated to be around the 1% mark at the turn of the year, but there could be a time when its predecessor IVP4 is found wanting when it comes to protecting against email attacks. Those who fail to plan ahead could be among the first victims of hackers exploiting the time-worn IVP4 protocols.

#5. Failing to recognize the benefits of outsourcing

Thousands of businesses are beginning to realize the benefits of outsourcing their email hosting to a third party. Not having to maintain email servers and upgrade the necessary components, IT managers could gain the time to focus on more pressing matters.

For those who are happy to keep email management in-house, being aware of these mistakes could help them keep things running smoothly.

About the author: Cobweb is Europe’s leading provider of Hosted Microsoft Exchange services, supplying secure and uninterrupted access to applications, email and the internet for more than 5,000 business customers. 

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