Corporate email is a "free for all," says Brendan Nolan, CEO of email management software vendor Waterford Technologies. Staff frequently use their work email to run their lives, pass on jokes and games and, frequently, spread viruses. And few organisations administer their email systems effectively.
Nolan claims that Waterford can help plug this gap. Its flagship product, MailMeter, analyses emails passing through corporate mail servers, enabling managers to find out how their systems are being used.
MailMeter does not filter or open emails. It monitors attachments, headers and the domain names emails are sent to or from. "[About] half
of the top ten domains [in corporate email systems] tend to be free Internet service providers," such as Yahoo or Hotmail, according to Nolan.
MailMeter's reports also list attachments sent and received according to type and size. Using MailMeter, one pharmaceutical company discovered that a proprietary document containing sensitive information had been sent to a Hotmail account. It was able to quickly identify the sender and investigate.
Waterford is also working on alerting capabilities to notify organisations if there are serious threats or other pre-defined activities that they want to be made immediately aware of.
Experts say that up to 40% of corporate emails are unrelated to work. In some extreme cases, however, Nolan has found that up to 80% of emails are for personal use. Furthermore, email consumes storage space and bandwidth.
Few companies want to eliminate personal emailing completely. But they need to know if it is making a serious dent in productivity and costing the company an excessive amount of money, says Nolan. This message has already won Waterford about 30 customers in Ireland, including pharmaceutical company Bausch & Lomb and insurer Eagle Star.
Waterford is now targeting the UK and planning an expansion into the US and Germany. It has also raised EU1 million in venture funding and is now developing products in related areas, based on feedback from users. Nolan says that these new products will help organisations deal with unwanted emails.
However, its expansion into the US will take it head-to-head with established rivals such as Lyris Technologies. It will need a strong portfolio of products if it is to compete successfully against such vendors.