Almost one-third of companies said they've fired an employee in the last 12 months for violating e-mail policies and 52% of the companies said they have disciplined an employee for violating e-mail rules in the past year, according to a survey of 294 U.S. firms with 1,000 or more workers.
Thirty-eight percent of companies said they employ staff to read or analyze outgoing e-mail messages, and that jumps to 44% of companies with 20,000 or more employees, according to the survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting for Proofpoint Inc., which makes anti-spam and e-mail monitoring tools for companies. About half of the companies said they regularly audit outbound e-mail content.
"There are legitimate reasons for companies to monitor e-mail," said Keith Crosley, director of market development at Proofpoint, in Cupertino, Calif. "There is so much risk associated with e-mail. The companies we're talking abut here have records on many thousands of customers. You really need to protect that data. E-mail is one of the least secure systems," he said. "It's very easy to inadvertently reveal massive amounts of customer data."
The message to workers is "don't put anything in e-mails that you wouldn't want the whole world to read," Crosley said. "That would be a difficult ideal to live up to," he said, but, absent that, workers should at least abide by their company's policy for acceptable e-mail use.
CBS Market Watch Article: Be Careful with EMAIL at work