Please note: Our observations are based on analyzing email volume and delivery from paid-for domains. Vendors use various ways to send email and messages and these are merely observations of average email volumes.
With communication channels and social media platforms continuing to grow, it’s easy to get the impression email is slowly dying. Though email may not be growing as fast as social media platforms and communication tools, it’s still an essential platform for consumers and businesses. According to Radicati the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will exceed 347 billion by 2023i.
In this blog, we look at some of the trends the SolarWinds® Mail Assure threat intelligence team has observed over the past few months in relation to email traffic across some of the top collaboration services, take-out services, travel platforms, streaming services, and delivery services like Amazon—and how lockdown measures across the globe have influenced these trends.
With a large portion of the world being homebound for the first part of 2020 and relying heavily on collaboration tools for communication, it’s no surprise these types of services have seen an uptick in business. Microsoft Teams now has 75 million daily active usersii and Zoom saw a major spike in March with daily participants (including free and paid) reaching more than 200 millioniii. Cisco WebEx also reported growth and a surge in meetings in Marchiv while many countries implemented lockdown measures. The graph below shows spikes in email traffic volume in mid-March. The low points correspond with data tracked over weekends.
Email volume data: February 2020 – April 2020, including weekend email traffic volumesv.
What does the email traffic represent? For Microsoft Teams, it includes calendar invitations, general updates, account related information, missed chat messages, and much more information sent by Microsoft. Email remains an integral part of such collaboration services.
Next, we looked at email traffic volume for UberEATS, where email traffic spiked going into March and maintained consistent high volumes. The company reported a 30% increase in sign-ups going into Marchvi.
Email volume data: February 2020 – April 2020, including weekend email traffic volumesvii.
While movie theatres had to shut their doors, streaming services like Netflix gained 15.8 millionviii paying customers for the period January to March, with email volume trends increasing with their growth.
Email volume data: February 2020 – April 2020, including weekend email traffic volumesix.
As expected, emails from online delivery services like Amazon also surged as online orders increasedx in March. A consistent upward trend has been observed from the technology giant.
Email volume data: February 2020 – April 2020, including weekend email traffic volumesxi.
Finally, we analyzed email trend for two of the largest companies in the travel industry. Trends were consistent in February, followed by spikes in March and as expected a drastic decrease as travel restrictions took effect.
Email volume data: February 2020 – April 2020, including weekend email traffic volumesxii.
With demand for many collaboration and online services spiking drastically in the space of a few months, and with an increase in overall email traffic from these providers, security has become a big challenge. Just like any other business, cybercriminals follow market trends and implement tactics that align with these. In April we reported an increase of over 80% in phishing attacks—and the trend continues. Cybercriminals know businesses and consumers are active on these platforms and are receiving emails from them. Therefore, they disguise meeting invitations and other communications (like the one below) to look like they were sent by the company—making it hard to differentiate between legitimate email and non-legitimate email.
Cybercriminals constantly challenge you and your customers to ensure you’re investing in the right security solutions to protect your assets against cyberthreats that can potentially lead to costly data breaches.
- Email is not going away any time soon: collaboration tools, online platforms, and demand for online shopping continue to grow, but email remains an essential part of nearly all online subscription, platforms, and services used through the internet.
- Email continues to be a vulnerability: Email is one of the easiest entry points for cyberattacks because people rely on it to get their jobs done and get connected.
- Practicing strong security programs and awareness is key as the online world evolves.
SolarWinds Mail Assure is built around various statistical systems to provide a clean inbox. The cloud-based solution is designed to detect what email is legitimate and help ensure delivery to your customers. The proprietary email filtering technology incorporates input from processing large volumes of email data that feed into our Intelligent Protection & Filtering Engine. This, combined with real-time pattern threat recognition and machine learning technology, helps protect your users against emerging email-borne threats.
If you like to learn more about SolarWinds Mail Assure, please click here.
Mia Thompson is product marketing manager, Mail Assure, at SolarWinds MSP.
i “Email Statistics Report 2019 – 2023,” Radicati Group. (Accessed June 2020).
iii “Zoom Boss Apologizes for Security Issues and Promises Fixes,” BBC News. (Accessed June 2020).
v SolarWinds Mail Assure logging data (Published June 2020).
vi “Uber Eats Demand Soars Due to Covid-19 Crisis,” Forbes. (Accessed June 2020).
vii SolarWinds Mail Assure logging data (Published June 2020).
viii “Netflix Doubles Expected Signups but Warns Coronavirus Boost May Fade,” Economic Times. (Accessed June 2020).
ix SolarWinds Mail Assure logging data (Published June 2020).
x “Amazon Says It is Out Of Stock Of Household Items And Deliveries Are Delayed Due To Coronavirus Demand,” CNBC. (Accessed June 2020).
xi SolarWinds Mail Assure logging data (Published June 2020).
xi SolarWinds Mail Assure logging data (Published June 2020).