Law Office Spam Filters

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Issues of data security and corporate privacy are especially sensitive for law firms. The issue of spam, however, is overwhelming for everyone. It calls for thinking outside the box. In the case of law firms, this means the traditional box of Wall Street, pinstripe suits, and legalese. Law is law and technology is technology. While the two meet frequently and even, as it were, share the proverbial martini over a working lunch, expertise in the two fields tend to be mutually exclusive.

The problem of corporate spam is admittedly no different and no greater in law offices than in any other organizations. The alarmingly high ratio of legitimate mail to unsolicited has been climbing since conception. Since January of 2002, for example, it is up 65 percent. The dollars lost to staff productivity, cobbled network servers, and misspent IT time amounted to about $23 billion nationwide in 2003.

Legislation enacted in the last year or two has been, however well intentioned and necessary, ineffective in stopping spam before it starts. Furthermore, fully 50 percent of all email attacks originate outside the United States. This means, clearly, that half of the problem can't be addressed legally at any stage. All that can be done, must be done with technology, and even then--as it were--only at the castle wall. Spam filters need to turn unsolicited email away before it gets into the network infrastructure to do its damage.

The Legal Profession's Answer to Corporate Spam

Fortunately, several companies--having suffered themselves--now specialize in email security. Among them, Postini, for example, holds more than 20 percent of the market share in the top 100 U.S. law firms. Part of the reason for such trust in a third-party solution is doubtless Postini's patented technology that, it might even seem, was developed with the legal profession in mind. Its key feature is that it permits email traffic to flow without being saved to disk. This, for law firms and any organization for which data security and privacy is paramount, is a show stopper.

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