But there I go sounding like an old person. Not that I fit into 'Generation Gmail,' but I can empathize with the reasons given for circumventing the corporate e-mail system in favor of productivity. Although e-mail is-and in my humble opinion will remain-the main source of communication in most corporate settings, it is perhaps the least understood by the IT department in both the scope and impact it has on the bottom line. Respondents to the Mimecast survey noted that they tend to use personal e-mail for work-related correspondence simply because they have more space-Gmail, after all, offers unlimited mailbox space, compared to many corporate e-mails that force users to clean out their mailboxes once or twice a year to free up server space.
On average, users sent about 300 work-related e-mails from their personal accounts, and almost half of those e-mails included attachments, according to the Mimecast survey. That's a whole lot of corporate IP leaking out.
So what can a company do? The proliferation of personal devices such as laptops and smartphones on the corporate network proves that a growing number of companies have thrown up their hands in surrender to the younger workers in the name of increased productivity and reduced hardware costs. But the potential for sensitive corporate data getting into the wrong hands because young Jimmy didn't have enough mailbox space to send out a client profile to the Des Moines sales office through his corporate e-mail account is simply unacceptable.
Companies need to take a long, hard look at their e-mail systems and treat them more as the crucial infrastructure technology they are. Mapping usage and responding accordingly, either by increasing dramatically the size of users' mailboxes or pushing e-mail into the cloud, thereby creating the opportunity for unlimited mailbox size, are good first steps. It's time e-mail got some respect from the IT department. Otherwise, Generation Gmail may e-mail their company right out of business.