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Email News & Analysis

How You Can Cope With Email Overload

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Feeling overwhelmed by all that email?

Think fast, short and selective: When email piles up, most people send short responses to a small number of incoming messages as quickly as possible.

If you're the one sending the email, you have better odds of getting a response if you send your messages on weekdays, during regular business hours — especially if you can resist the urge to add an attachment.

These are some of the not-so-surprising findings of a large scale study by researchers at Yahoo Labs in Barcelona and the University of Southern California. The researchers analyzed the behavior of more than 2 million users exchanging 16 billion separate emails over several months, which they describe as the largest single study of email behavior to date.

Mimecast Wants You to Trust Business Email to the Cloud

A new, web-based secure messaging system announced this morning by Mimecast aims to address the continuing problem of malicious payload passing through email.

Mimecast’s strategy with its simply named Secure Messaging service is not entirely new: Direct Outlook to upload email attachments to a web gateway, encrypt them there using AES protocol and let browsers manage the transfer of the encrypted attachments through secure sessions.

What's new, however, is Mimecast’s appeal to customers. Please trust a cloud for your security.

“We do retain data in the cloud, so you can archive perpetually with us,” said Orlando Scott-Cowley, Mimecast’s director of technology marketing and a certified security engineer, speaking with CMSWire. “Or alternatively, if you have legal concerns about security and privacy of using a cloud service, we have a zero-drag or zero-retention which just sends the mail straight through to the organization.”

Discussion Point: Why Do Intranets Fail?

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Most hard-working professionals need a good reason to use their organization's intranet.

Remember the early days? The one-page company Wiki that had 1,000 links on it? And once in a while you'd get an email from a manager who said, "It's on the intranet. Go find it."

Those days are gone -- hopefully. Vendors cash in on companies needing a strong, internal collaboration platform. Intranets still serve as great fodder for debate in tech circles. Case in point -- the Intra.Net Reloaded conference that circles the globe.

We caught the Boston version of this conference last week. Practitioners discussed the relevance of gamification, platform usability, how to improve adoption and costly mistakes to avoid. We continue that conversation today with our latest Discussion Point.

Is Email the Solution to Information Overload?

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Information overload prohibits you from "focusing on what matters most." Email is the primary cause of overload because you have too many email message to process. Solve the email problem and you will conquer information overload.

This is what IBM, Microsoft and Google want you to believe. All three companies recently released products to help you cut down on email-related information overload.

Here is how each company touts their new offerings:

IBM Verse offers a faster, better way to manage business communications across devices, organize inbound and outbound information, and focus on what you need most.

Google Inbox is a fresh start that goes beyond email to help you get back to what matters.

Microsoft Clutter is designed to help you focus on the most important messages in your inbox. It uses machine learning to de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder. Ultimately, Clutter removes distractions so you can focus on what matters most.

Focus on what matters most …. Is it an incredible coincidence that all three companies identify the same need? Or is this problem so commonplace that the demand for a solution is abundantly obvious?  Will "fixing" email really alleviate the problem of information overload and let you focus on what matters most?

I think not.

Don't Open Your Email: Agari Warns Malicious Messages Have Soared

It's hard to quiet the voice of Paul McCartney when you read through Agari's latest study on The State of Email Trust. All you have to do is read the introductory paragraph of the report, which the security solutions provider released today:

Email security improved somewhat in 2014, but most companies still haven’t implemented technology that prevents cyber criminals from sending messages that appear to come from their domains — a failure that leaves customers vulnerable to phishing attacks." 

Think about that for just a moment — and odds are you, too, can visualize McCartney's words:

Someone's knockin' at the door
Somebody's ringin' the bell
Do me a favor,
Open the door and let 'em in." 

Businesses are unwittingly opening the door to cybercriminals who trick people into sharing sensitive information, leading to identity theft and other crimes. 

What's more, because victims of phishing attacks often blame the companies they thought sent the forged emails, the attacks erode the trust companies spend years building with customers.

Discussion Point: Should Work Related Email Stay at Work?

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German Labor Minister Andrea Nahles has floated the idea of "anti-stress regulation" in which companies would take steps to reduce workplace tension. Chief among these measures would be a ban on employers contacting employees after hours, by phone or email.

Nahles even commissioned Germany's Federal Institute for Health and Safety at Work last year to come up with a report on the feasibility of a possible law to protect workers from stress caused by smartphones and constant contact with their bosses.

The report could generate legislation that would ban employers from contacting workers after office hours. But the report is only expected to be released next year, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nahles' boss, has already discouraged the idea of a contact after-hours ban.

So for now the idea remains just that — only an idea.

But it was an idea heard around the world. And as workers in the US continue to struggle with their increasingly muddled work and personal lives, smartphones at their sides and visions of email dancing in their heads, we wondered … is it such a crazy idea, after all?

Fed Cybersecurity Summit: Assessing Risks, Looking for Solutions

Here’s something to think about the next time your team crafts an email marketing message. "About two thirds of cyber attacks start with an email," said Patrick Peterson, founder and CEO of San Mateo, Calif.-based Agari, a security solutions provider.  

Email is the foundation of digital, added Agari CMO Kevin Cochrane. "And the more we go digital, the more we put ourselves at risk. I think people are just realizing. It's a problem that needs fixing — now," Cochrane said.

In a conversation with CMSWire today from the first ever White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection on the Stanford University campus, Peterson and Cochrane said it was time to acknowledge the potential risks of the Digital Age.

While Peterson cautioned that there was no reason to panic about the growing threats of cybercrime, he stressed that it was time to face facts, accept reality and "be mindful" about potential dangers.

"In a digital, connected world full of stronger and stronger adversaries, the risks are extreme," he said. One of the biggest risks, he added, is a collective loss of trust in the digital economy.

Too Much Information: Managing Distractions in the Workplace

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Sure it's OK to check Facebook or send a personal text while at work. That is, if you can find the time between keeping up on Yammer, collaborating over Skype and shoveling through the 125 emails the average office worker receives daily.

And, of course, that's in addition to completing your assigned tasks.

The problem here is information overload. Workers are so distracted — and frustrated — by frequent interruptions that it's costing US companies an estimated $588 billion a year in lost productivity. Often, this leaves employees feeling stressed out, sometimes long after leaving the office.

Between social networks, personal and professional email, phone calls and collaboration tools, the average worker is distracted every 11 minutes, according to a study by the University of California at Irvine.

Microsoft Ups Its Productivity Play With New Calendaring App

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It may seem like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is talking big sky when he makes bold statements, claiming his company will “reinvent productivity for a new generation,” a generation whose professional and personal lives are spent primarily in mobile apps and in the Cloud.

But if you look at what he’s been able to accomplish since last summer, it’s kind of daunting. Now you can not only access Office and many of its individual components via almost any mobile device, but your experiences with Microsoft’s apps are also on par with the best of what can be found in the App Store or on Google Play.

And if there’s a place where the Redmond, Wash. tech giant falls short, it doesn’t stay that way for very long. Not on Nadella’s watch.

Better Safe than Sorry: Protecting Online Identity

Anyone who's made a purchase -- whether in-store or online -- within the last few years knows that providing an email address has become a standard part of doing business in the United States.

You Go Girl! Jive's Got a New CEO

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Silicon Valley isn’t known for its plethora of female CEO’s, but now it can proudly claim one more — Jive Software’s Elisa Steele.

Steele, who joined the social business software provider only 13 months ago, has proven herself in short order. She started as the executive vice president (EVP) of strategy and chief marketing officer in January 2014, was promoted to EVP of marketing and products last August, and to president of Jive in November when former CEO Tony Zingale retired.

Jive Brings Workstyle Apps to the Rest of Us

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We’ve all been told that mobile and the cloud are great equalizers. But how often do small and mid-sized businesses continue to find technologies and solutions beyond reach because of their cost, required technical know-how, difficulty of implementation and so on?

Far more often than most vendors are prepared to admit.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, said Colleen Jansen, vice president of global marketing, Jive Software. Today the company that has brought communication and collaboration solutions to enterprises and their business partners since 2001, unveiled three new workstyle apps: Jive Daily, Jive Chime and Jive People.

They’re consumer-like in look and feel, functional in that they work the way you work, easily accessible (not just anywhere, any time, any device) in that you don’t need much help (if any) from IT to set up and use them, and affordable to business and organizations of all shapes and sizes. (Though large enterprises might fare better with Jive and Jive X).

Here’s the low down on the three apps.

3 Reasons Amazon's Email Could Dent Google, Microsoft

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Think Microsoft and Google have the business email market tied-up? Think again. Amazon has come up with a new business email service called WorkMail that ties in nicely with its file-sharing service Zocalo, and WorkSpaces, a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution.

The new service, launched in preview late last week, provides an email and calendar service that aims to cut into a market that has been dominated by Microsoft’s Office 365 and Google for Work Apps. It has three key features that just might help it dent the market leaders.

Microsoft Offers New Outlook Apps for iOS, Android

In less than two months, Microsoft has capitalized on technology from its Acompli buy to create new Outlook apps for iOS and Android. Microsoft, which acquired the San Francisco-based provider of mobile email apps for $200 million in early December, boasted today that "Acompli is now Outlook."

Both apps will work with Microsoft products like Office 365, Exchange and Outlook.com as well as Gmail, Yahoo Mail and other services. Acompli is now available on the App Store and Google Play for smartphones and tablets.

According to Microsoft they will replace existing Outlook Web Apps (OWA), although not right away. Microsoft plans to leave the OWA for iPhone/iPad/Android apps on the market until it fully integrates all of their advanced features, which it expects to do by summer.

Office 365 Extends Email Security to Address Spammers, Phishers

Microsoft is tightening up the security of its email offerings on Office 365 through the extension of features.

The goal here is to provide a “safer client experience” that will authenticate senders and help identify untrusted senders, helping to protect your system from spam and phishing campaigns, the tech giant explained.

While Office 365 is already pretty secure, Microsoft maintains the only way to beat hackers and other Internet nuisances is to keep one step ahead.

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