2006 Proofpoint Survey Finds That 38% of Large British Companies Employ Personnel to Read Employee Email

    The study found that 38% of UK companies with 1,000 or more employees hire staff to read or analyze outbound email. 40% of companies with more than 20,000 workers employ staff for this purpose. Companies appear to have good reason to worry — more than half investigated an email leak of confidential or proprietary information and nearly 2 in 5 (39.3%) investigated a violation of privacy or data protection regulations in the past year.

    Additional key findings from the survey, which was fielded by Forrester Consulting, include:

    – More than 1 in 3 companies (33.9%) has terminated an employee for
    violating email policies in the past 12 months. More than 70% of
    companies have disciplined an employee for violating email policies
    in the past year.
    – Companies estimate that nearly 1 in 5 outgoing emails (18.1%) contains
    content that poses a legal, financial or regulatory risk.
    – More than a third (33.9%) of companies report their business was
    impacted by the exposure of sensitive or embarrassing information in
    the last year. 14.3% were impacted by improper exposure or theft of
    customer information, while 15.2% were impacted by improper exposure
    or theft of intellectual property.

    The study also found that other communications channels, such as blogs and message boards, are emerging as sources of risk for companies:

    – Nearly half (49.1%) of companies are very concerned or concerned
    about Web-based email as a conduit for exposure of confidential or
    proprietary information. Respondents are also very concerned about
    FTP, instant messaging, peer-to-peer networks, blogs and message
    – More than 1 in 5 companies (20.5%) has disciplined an employee for
    violating blog or message board policies in the last year. 3.6% of
    companies fired an employee for such infractions.
    – 13% of public companies investigated the exposure of material
    financial information via a blog or message board posting in the
    past year.