Email False Positives Cost US Businesses More Than $10 Billion Per Year

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Communication from customers, suppliers and partners at risk

Osterman Research has just published Why You Need to Eliminate False Positives in Your Email System, a white paper that discusses the costs and implications of email false positives – business-critical emails that are mistakenly identified as spam.

“We conservatively estimate that the email false positive problem costs an organization $230 per user per year”, said Michael Osterman, principal of Osterman Research. “In the United States alone, this results in a cost to businesses and ISPs of more than $10 billion annually and over $40 billion worldwide. Clearly, any organization using email must address this problem and achieve a dramatically lower false positive rate in order to protect the viability and integrity of email communications.”

Although there are an increasing number of communication and information delivery tools used in the workplace – including telephone, social media and instant messaging– email continues to reign as the primary mode of communication for most users.

Mr. Osterman added, “There is an expectation that email is virtually instantaneous and extremely reliable. This increasingly is not the case – a recent Osterman Research survey found that 63% of email users regularly have to check their spam folder for legitimate emails and more than 75% of users indicate that a system that solved the false positive problem would be extremely or somewhat desirable”.

More than 75% of the email traversing the Internet is spam. To combat this problem, most organizations are protected by some type of solution designed to quarantine spam or otherwise prevent it from reaching end users. The problem is that all anti-spam solutions generate false positives – they mistakenly identify some valid emails as spam and either place them into quarantine, where they may or may not be seen by the intended recipients, or they eliminate them altogether.

Some false positive emails contain time-sensitive or other critical communications: contracts, requests for proposal, purchase orders, renewal notices, inquiries and the like. Recipients’ failure to receive these critical emails, or to receive them in a timely manner, results in lost business, damage to corporate reputation, financial penalties and raise risk and governance issues for the enterprise.

Why You Need to Eliminate False Positives in Your Email System is available for download at The research report is available complementary due to the financial support of TrustSphere.

For more information, please contact Osterman Research at the venues noted above.


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