For banks concerned that their employees' status-managing e-mails may disrupt the sanctity of the workplace, filtering tools may help. This type of software can automatically sweep e-mail and attachments for keywords, and then quarantine or tag messages meeting certain criteria. If a message contains ethnic slurs or the word "sex," for example, it might be tagged for inspection.
"Banks often use the tools to do things like check that salespeople aren't making wild claims, and that suitable disclaimers are included in the e-mail," says David Ferris, president of San Francisco-based Ferris Research Inc.
Tumbleweed Communications Corp., located in Redwood City, CA, offers a content filtering and e-mail management product with its Message Management System. MIMEsweeper is a suite of products from Dublin-based Baltimore Technologies PLC that monitors e-mail content. Cost of that system is $20 monthly per user, with discounts depending on the number of users.
BMO Nesbitt Burns, a brokerage house based in Toronto, uses MIMEsweeper for external e-mail and has plans to implement it for internal e-mail in the next fiscal year. "We can do keyword analysis on the flow of messages, examining the content of the message or type of attachments and quarantine or filter anything that meets our criteria," says Bob Jones, manager of security and contingency planning.
BMO Nesbitt Burns has about 8,000 users who send approximately 400,000 e- mails a day, 290,000 of which are intra-organizational. Two years ago, when the Melissa Virus disabled thousands of computers, the brokerage house was able to scan for keywords to prevent infection of the network-even before the virus protection software could be updated.