High street retailer Marks & Spencer has ditched an email monitoring system from security company Baltimore Technologies because of problems setting policy control.
Marks & Spencer implemented the MAILsweeper product in 1998 to monitor and control around 80,000 email messages a day, but has now swapped it for email management software from Clearswift.
The software analyses email text and attachments, and sets and controls company email policy to prevent employee abuses of email that could leave the company open to legal action for defamatory or libellous emails.
Difficulties in changing the policy settings, which had to be coded by the in-house software development team, led to the ditching of Baltimore's MAILsweeper, according to Steve Jones, information security manager at Marks & Spencer.
"Previously it was a development role to change the code in our email management system in order to change policy settings. Now we can transfer the role of setting policy and rules onto our security team," he said.
Marks & Spencer also uses two different protocols for sending email.
Most of the company's 10,000 email users are supported by the widely used SMTP, but some supplier systems are still based on the more complex X.400 protocol, which is not supported by the Baltimore software.
The retailer now also has more capacity to cope, with additional name space and scalability, said Jones.
Baltimore claims the peculiarities of Marks & Spencer's IT infrastructure, and not product quality, were the primary factors.
"The decision to move to an alternative solution was based not on product capability but on the technology and unique requirements of their network infrastructure. MAILsweeper continues to be the market leading content security solution for SMTP email," said Bob Ferguson, vice-president of operations, Baltimore Technologies MIMEsweeper Group.
A recent VNU/CMP/PwC survey found that more than three-quarters of UK businesses monitor employee communications. This far outstrips the average worldwide of 57 per cent.
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