By Brian Sherwood
At some point during their day-to-day work, every network administrator and end user inevitably comes to realize that even the mass medium of email has a darker side. Those who up to now have only ever experienced the positive side of electronic message transmission generally view the world through different eyes and are more prone to negligent behavior from a business perspective.
Of course, there's no denying the benefits of email as a means of communication--it shortens communication channels, and acts as a cost-effective means of simplifying and formulating a whole range of business processes, from customer inquiries through the initiation of contracts, right up to the sending of order confirmations. Set against these benefits however, are legal obligations and security-related challenges that can turn into a serious headache for those business leaders who choose to bury their heads in the sand.
It's important to be aware of the fact that statutory requirements concerning electronic communication are becoming increasingly all-embracing. Identification requirements, data protection policies, and obligations relating to fiscal law mean that you are legally compelled to take action (e.g. Freedom of Information Act, Data Protection Act). The possible worst-case-scenario, which would involve your organization receiving warnings from your competitors and incurring serious fines for infringements against statutory regulations, is likely to represent sufficient grounds for both you and me to press for a legally compliant approach in dealing with the medium of email in your company. This is an unavoidable issue and one of vital interest.
Not only Windows structures under fire
Other key issues include the ability to limit security risks associated with email communication and to keep pace with the high volumes of email traffic. In reality, I must of course concede that the threat posed by viruses and other digital nasties are not restricted to Exchange infrastructures, but also apply to Domino servers as well. At the same time, the number of emails we receive on a daily basis needing to be processed is steadily increasing. This flood of electronic messages can quickly result in the associated infrastructures becoming overstretched, and can cause the business processes linked to the medium to rapidly mutate into an unmanageable construct.