IT and End Users Differ on Spam Severity

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While slightly more than half of end users say spam isn't a problem,nearly 80 percent of IT managers say it's a problem that they'restruggling with, according to a new study.

But despite their difference of opinion of the situation today, both endusers and IT managers say it's a problem that will plague them for yearsto come.

''They really don't have a positive outlook about this,'' says ChrisMiller, director of product management for Symantec, Inc., aninformation security company based in Cupertino, Calif. ''In some ways,it's almost like being on the Titanic. The iceberg has been hit and thecrew is aware of all the impacts. The passengers up on the deck don't see the damage below and don't know all the implications, so they think it's a little more under control. But everybody knows it's going to be a long night and there's a lot more icebergs ahead.''

The study, conducted by Insight Express for Symantec, shows that overallend users are a lot less concerned about spam than their counterparts inthe IT department.

Slightly more than 50 percent of end users surveyed say spam is not aproblem in their workplace. However, 79.1 percent of IT managers say itis a problem in the workplace.

When end users were asked if they think spam is under control at theircompany, 8.4 percent say it's out of control; 23.3 percent say it'sbarely under control, and 68 percent say it is under control.

Compare that to IT administrators who were asked the same question. Asimilar 10 percent say it's out of control; 33 percent say it's barelyout of control, and 56 percent say they have it under control.

''End users are experiencing some degree of respite from the amount ofspam they are seeing,'' says Miller. ''But the IT administrators arebasically getting the brunt of this problem. They're not just dealingwith one person's spam. They're dealing with the spam that's coming into everybody.

''They're dealing with bandwidth usage, storage usage, viruses it may bebringing in, staffing and the hours they have to put in,'' adds Miller.''They're spending a lot of time with this problem. The end user sees itas garbage they have to deal with. The IT manager has a lot of otherissues.''

In fact, the survey shows that spam has become one of the top worriesfor administrators.

When IT managers were asked what they spend the majority of their timeon, spam came in second only to malware. Miller says 42.7 percent ofmanagers report malware as their worst problem, and 16.4 percent sayit's spam.

''For a lot of our customers, I'd say it's a nightmare,'' he adds.

And it appears to be a nightmare that isn't going away anytime soon.According to the survey, 70.9 percent of IT administrators say they'llstill be wrestling with spam three years from now, while 72 percent ofusers say it will only get worse.

''This is painting a pretty grim picture moving forward,'' says Miller.''They're both seeing increases and they're both seeing it as along-term problem.''

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