Recently, during the TechGenix Xtreme podcast, we have been talking/ranting/complaining often about malware infestations and we even listened to Derek Kortepeter as he predicted the most recent attack. Not so long ago I woke up to multiple notices announcing that a number of organizations had once again been hit with ransomware, which resulted in at least an hour of my time spent accessing all of my various email accounts to ensure there were no phishing emails. If you are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with ransomware, it is defined as malware that will block your data until such time as a ransom is paid to some unscrupulous bad guy. While there are many backdoors into systems that can allow malware to be installed, more often than not it is the result of a user within our enterprise who unknowingly makes the mistake of opening up an email from an unknown sender. If that mistake in and of itself does not return devastating results, we also need to train ourselves, our users, and apparently our mother, and mother-in-law to refrain from opening up attachments from unknown senders. In light of all of this, I can’t help but wonder if email has reached the end of its usefulness. Are we witnessing the end of email?
The challenge is that it only takes one click, one unfocused moment, one slight lapse of judgement, and the results can be catastrophic. Personally, I receive hundreds of emails each week.
Most are junk. Of the remainder, many are rambling notes that are poorly written and never seem to quite get to the point. Of the one or possibly two emails that are of value, I have usually spoken to the sender in person or on the phone and the email is simply a follow-up.
With the high level of risk that is associated with email applications, I am left to ponder why, with all of the many options available to us, we continue this insanity. Text messaging is so popular that unsafe drivers continually draw attention to themselves as they formulate their important responses, and the list of text messaging tools seem almost limitless. Web conferencing, my medium of choice, is ever popular with Cisco’s Webex and Citrix’s GoToMeeting. There are video conferencing tools such as Google Hangouts and Skype, and yet we continue to setup and maintain multiple email accounts knowing full well the impact of malicious malware. Don’t even get me started on phishing emails. Ever think you are applying for a job only to find your inbox filled with spam? Let’s just stop the insanity!
Let’s just all quit email. Why are we so obsessed? This seems to be an obsolete medium with an extremely high risk and impact rate. The amount of wasted time sifting through and attempting to sort email does not seem to be an efficient use of employee time. The Washington Post reports that we spend 4.1 hours of each work day checking email. HuffPost conducted a survey and reported that in the United States, employees spend an astounding 6.3 hours a day on email, and in Canada Global News reports that we are spending one-third of our office time on email and then continuing with work email upon returning home in the evening.
Let’s do some simple math. If we average out the amount of time as reported in these three separate articles, we get an average of 4.3 hours per workday spent on email. Note that I used a 7.5 hour workday for the Canadian content, which means 2.5 hours per day spent on email. I believe that number to be quite low, but for the sake of argument I will use it. So, the average is (2.5+4.1+6.3)/3=4.3. Let’s just agree that, at a minimum, 43 percent of our time at work is spent on email. Just to get an idea of the cost to an organization, I attempted to look at the average salaries of various U.S. and Canadian cities, but the data was so conflicting and erroneous that let’s just say that the average salary in your organization is $50,000 per year and we won’t complicate this with exchange. Simply put, the cost to your organization is 43 percent of $50,000, or $21,500 annually per employee. For a small business, this could be dollars devoted to more productive activity. For larger corporations, add the appropriate number of zeros to this number and sit back and gasp. Enough said.
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