Corporate mail users use any mail platforms to “get the job done”

A new study shows that younger users will use any mail platform available – to the exclusion of the corporate platform provided – in order to get their work done.

Mimecast have published a blog post and a press release with potential huge shock value to most companies with formalised email infrastructure. A demographic of users labelled “Generation Gmail” use Gmail and similar services to circumvent corporate security in order to maximise productivity.

Let’s break that down a bit and dig into the findings;

· The headline seems to define the demographic as corporate mail users under 25 - that makes sense, since this study was commissioned in the UK, however includes results from several countries including the US and Canada show that 85% of this age group use non-corporate mail for work usage, with older age groups doing this much less.

· Corporate mail consumers surveyed stated that corporate mail was restrictive to the point of using private mail accounts to send corporate IP and work from home using free mail services.

· One of the massive drivers cited was the finite nature of corporate mail – no surprise there since users are able to obtain virtually unlimited mailboxes for free; expecting the corporate experience to mirror what is available to the man in the street.

Looking at SATA based storage improvements which Exchange has delivered over the last few years, and the relatively slow rate of adoption of these new storage models, the consumer behaviour certainly underlines the need for corporations to rethink “SAN or nothing” based thinking and evaluate the opportunities presented by moving to SATA or similar based storage. More than one corporation has multiplied the size of the average mailboxes by spending a fraction of the purchase price of legacy tier one storage on new Exchange 2010 servers with large SATA disks.

Under 25’s also expect to work from anywhere, since the services they use to communicate work anywhere and from most devices, why is it unreasonable for corporate mail users to expect the same from their companies’ mail? Looking at experience provided by Active Sync and the range of devices, including phones and tablets supporting Active Sync, I can’t help but wonder why more companies aren’t using the features they may own already.

I’ve picked on two bits of the study which stood out to me, and evaluated them against available Exchange features, bearing in mind that most of today’s corporate mail is based on some version of Exchange.

Questions I would like to ask, is what versions of Exchange were used by the users surveyed, and how many were on premise, versus cloud based, which would give us a clearer indication of the technical reasons for the felt restrictions.

I’m certainly hoping that more information comes to light from this study, since in my mostly Exchange based thinking, the issues faces by these users have certainly been circumvented rather successfully by Exchange 2010, and even in part by Exchange.

Obviously Mimecast are looking to promote their cloud approach to storage to overcome the limits of on premise storage, since not everyone is in the position to start with new SATA based storage and have to either sweat their storage assets or make the best of what they have already.

Have a look at this post for a closer look at the numbers presented and you may start wondering how information is leaving your company…