• United States

Secure messaging: offer it and they will use it

May 20, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Employees use secure messaging more frequently if company makes it available

Secure messaging is very likely one of those technologies – like instant messaging – that finds more use simply because it is available.

We have just concluded a survey of organizations on a variety of messaging issues, including secure messaging capabilities and requirements. We found that:

* Nearly half of organizations have deployed some form of secure messaging capability that allows at least some of their users to send encrypted messages from the desktop.

* Most users in a typical organization would not be considered frequent users of secure messaging: our survey found that across all organizations, whether or not secure messaging has been deployed, only 20% of e-mail users would be considered frequent users, another 14% would be occasional users, and the rest would be considered infrequent or rare users of secure messaging.

* However, when looking at the data in the context of whether secure messaging has actually been deployed, there is a significant difference in the breakdown of the three groups: among those organizations that have not deployed secure messaging, only 9% would be considered frequent users, but this number jumps to 32% among those organizations that have deployed secure messaging.

I believe that there are two things that explain the significant difference between these two groups. First, it almost goes without saying that organizations that have deployed secure messaging generally have more of a need for it than those organizations that have not deployed it. Clearly, then, there is bound to be more use of it among those organizations that have deployed it.

Second, users are more likely to use secure messaging because it is there. For example, in the absence of secure messaging capability, a marketing manager might be an infrequent user of the capability compared to the corporate counsel or the human resources manager. However, when the capability is made available, that marketing manager will likely find more uses for secure messaging than originally anticipated, such as sending proposals, communicating with remote employees about internal personnel matters, and sending requests for quotes and other information that previously had been sent using non-secure methods.

In short, the availability of a technology means that users might discover they had more of a need for it than they were able to articulate prior to its availability.

More information from this survey is available at: