Since the first spam, sent in 1978 by Einar Stefferud, this particularly irritating form of advertising has grown to the point where, according to a May 2003 article in Information Week, unprotected e-mail users waste an average of 200 minutes processing spam for every 1,000 messages they receive—adding up to an unbelievable 3.5 hours of lost productivity per person per month. And if the loss in productivity is not a sufficiently compelling reason to apply resources to the war on spam, just consider the ramifications of the offended employee, shocked by the contents of a message, bringing a hostile work environment suit against the company.

If you’ve made the decision to filter incoming e-mail, your next step is to determine exactly how. A basic search on the Internet will reveal a confusing plethora of alternative options, products, methods, and services. How do you decide which is the best choice for your environment? Regardless of whether you decide to utilize a service, purchase an add-on for your e-mail server, buy a client-based product, or filter at the periphery of your network, a basic understanding of spam control methodologies will facilitate your decision-making process. As part of a new endeavor at TechRepublic to offer our members the best information in the most accessible format, we’ve created a new content type: the charticle. Delivered in a handy chart form, it gives you the information—just the information—you want. Click here to see the charticle.