Businesses fear email data leakage

Half of all employees admit to having accidentally sent embarrassing or sensitive emails to the wrong person.

Research conducted by IT security and control firm Sophos shows that 70% of businesses are concerned about sensitive material falling into the wrong hands as a result of data leakage via email.

As Sophos points out, such leakage is the source of much corporate embarrassment. But it can also be responsible for breaches in regulatory compliance and the loss of business-critical information.

“As more and more business, and indeed personal interaction, is conducted via work email, the risk of slipping up and clicking ‘send’ without double-checking the recipient’s details is ever-growing,” says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “The fact that as many as half of employees have experienced that heart-stopping moment when they realise their message is hurtling towards the wrong person shows that the human error factor is too significant to ignore.”

To combat the threat, businesses can employ tools that scan outgoing messages for sensitive data and keywords, identifying when sensitive data or attachments are contained in the message, he says. Combined with educating employees on responsible email use, such approaches can mitigate the risks and dramatically reduce the possibility of critical data loss, he adds.

Further reading

Email is the most stressful application

Is email killing productivity? 

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...

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