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Who You Gonna Call?

Will IT managers throw up there hands trying to manage multiple messaging environments from multiple vendors while trying to prevent malware attacks and meet compliance requirements? And by throw up
their hands I mean hand the whole mess over to a service provider.

That seems to be what Postini is hinting at in its annual Message Management & Threat Report, which was released earlier this week.

In the survey-based report the message management provider said 2005 was a "saturation point" for IT managers. I can
certainly believe it. Combating the constant e-mail and IM threats alone was reason to call in reinforcements. But throw in archiving, disaster recovery, backup, VoIP management and other responsibilities and messaging became a major time sink for IT last year.Postini's position is that relief will come in the form of an integrated message management system based on outsourced managed services. Of course, this plays right into Positini hands, but it's an interesting point. It's easy to see a saturation point on the horizon if something isn't done soon.

In fact, Yankee Group said the "tipping point" happened mid-2005 when message management and threat protection moved in favor of an outsourced managed service model.

What does Postini mean by integrated message management? It's quite simple, really, but don't try it at home. In addition to bringing together all an organization's various messaging infrastructures,
there is a common protection framework for e-mail, IM, encryption, VoIP and all other communication channels. There is also a common policy framework and a common management interface.

As for the survey, I won't go into all the lowlights of 2005. Suffice it to say Postini's threat monitoring operation recorded record breaking malware volumes in all areas: phishing attacks, viruses, worms, spam/spim, and directory harvest attacks. You lived through it; we don't need to tell you, right?

But it was interesting to note that while protecting against such threats was listed as the respondents' biggest concern, the top priorities going into 2006 include activities like developing an archiving strategy, securing new forms of messaging, regulatory compliance, and messaging integration. And the top priority for 2006 will be controlling the message volume.

I guess it comes down to IT managers deciding what their core competencies are going to be in 2006 with regard to messaging. The plate is looking pretty full if they continue to do it all themselves.

And guess who gets the worst of it? According to the Postini report,
small business receive much more spam per user than their larger counterparts, four times more. At small business in 2005, e-mail users received an average of 50 spam messages per day, according to the report.

Only 50? Next year the survey should include home-office users.