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Wasted productivity as employees sort spam emails

by Helen J. Wolf
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According to Kaspersky, employees receiving 30-60 external emails daily would waste 11 hours a year searching and identifying spam messages.

For employees who receive between 60-100 emails daily, this number increases to 18 hours per year, which is more than two business days. These are the findings of Kaspersky’s analysis of the amount of spam that bombards corporate mailboxes and how it can affect employee productivity.

According to third-party estimates, 45%-85% of all emails generated daily are spam. But in addition to the enticements, malicious links, and attachments that these emails can contain, the flood of spam can be annoying and overwhelming, clogging users’ mailboxes if an antispam solution is not installed.

Wasted productivity as employees sort spam emailsKaspersky researchers analyzed the amount of spam received per employee and, using a third-party survey, estimated the number of hours office workers could spend reading or browsing these messages.

Employees were divided into three groups based on the number of emails they received daily from outside their organization (emails from senders within the same organization were not counted).

According to the calculations, those who receive up to 30 emails daily also receive about 30 spam samples a week and waste almost five hours a year sorting them. Employees who receive 30-60 emails daily spend 11 hours a year on the same thing: more than one work day. And those who receive up to 100 emails daily can spend 18 hours — more than two business days a year. For mailboxes with more than 100 incoming messages daily, the number of hours it takes to sort spam emails is 80 per year. But these can be general mailboxes for all incoming questions, which are usually not cleaned up.

“Five hours spread over a year may not sound so important to one employee. But when scaled to an organization with hundreds of employees, it can become a significant amount of person-hours,” said Andrey Kovtun, email threats group manager at Kaspersky.

“The number may seem higher in companies that focus on providing services where employees interact more actively with outside parties,” he says.

“Employees can also waste time returning to work after reading and deleting spam, as email is a huge distraction. These negative effects of spam may not be obvious, but organizations must be aware of this and protect employees with special antispam and antiphishing tools.”

To maintain employee productivity and avoid the negative impact of spam and email threats, Kaspersky recommends that organizations take the following steps:

Enable the antispam or junk email feature in your mail service if there is no special solution as an add-on. This feature should reduce the spam flow. Teach employees to identify spam, especially phishing emails, by looking for characters such as the sender’s address, executables, or files with macros in attachments and calls-to-action. This should reduce the chance of an attack and help employees get rid of unwanted messages faster. Implement reliable protection for mail servers, such as Kaspersky Security for Mail Server, with a solid set of antiphishing, antispam, and malware detection technologies. For cloud services, such as Microsoft 365, there is a dedicated Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365 solution.

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