The relatively recent and rapid rise of e-mail as a means of communication has created opportunities and challenges for the software industry and businesses worldwide. As recently as 1986, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) was formally established in an effort to document Internet standards and influence best practices for using the Internet. In the nineties, the popularity of the World Wide Web transformed the computing landscape, as millions of computer users rushed to the Internet for business and recreation.
Software companies developed popular e-mail client and server software, providing enhanced functionality via free downloads and high-end commercial applications. Along with the growth of the Internet and Web browsing, many companies released Web-based e-mail solutions, frequently supported by advertising and often free to the end user. Commercial providers of enterprise software have continued to innovate and provide enhanced functionality to help IT departments manage e-mail systems more effectively and securely, while helping information workers deal with the challenges of managing the growing volume of e-mail. The convergence of telephony and e-mail systems is now allowing access to voice mail and faxes via e-mail clients, and trendy handheld devices have been proliferating, providing mobile access to e-mail.
The importance of messaging technologies continues to grow, becoming a competitive advantage for businesses around the globe. System managers are faced with the challenges of delivering enhanced features to keep their workforces competitive while protecting their networks and intellectual capital.