Why hitting ‘Send’ on that next email may not be as straightforward as it seems.
Email has fast become the de facto form of communication for most companies in the digital era.
It’s highly familiar, cost effective, and above all else, it’s simple. In mere seconds, you can draft an email to anyone, anywhere, at any time. In this context, there’s little wonder the average office worker keeps members abreast of important information by sending some 40+ emails per day.
But this convenience comes at a cost. As reported by Avatier, the simplicity of sending an email belies a communication channel that’s inherently insecure, with some 6,789 reported email data breaches globally in the space of just two years
In order to meet compliance and regulatory standards, boardrooms, council chambers, and accountancy firms are in desperate need of a way to prepare and distribute documents, sensitive data, and committee papers away from emails.
Email – A necessary evil in the early digital era
When the digital revolution took workplaces by storm, it promised a connected future that would drive productivity, boost workflow, and cut costs.
The rise of internet connected devices and mobile coverage now meant employees could work anywhere, anytime, sales teams could stay informed while on-the-go, and overheads could be slashed as boardrooms went paperless.
In reality, the adoption of digital channels has been slow, forcing companies to embrace insecure, stop-gap solutions while processes and IT departments have struggled to keep up with the pace of change. But in a world where personal data is now worth more on the black market than credit card details, security isn’t just an added bonus, it’s a must.
The security stats? They’re sobering…
Before we dive deeper, let’s take a moment to examine the true scale of the risk posed by email.
- In 2004, AOL lost upwards of $400,000 following an internal data breach which saw the details of some 92 million AOL accounts sold to spammers by one of the company’s former software engineers.
- Yahoo’s $4.8 Billion sale to Verizon almost fell through in 2016, after the company revealed all 3 Billion of its users’ accounts were breached across 2013 and 2014.
- Back in 2017, 2.2 million Wishbone user email addresses were exposed.
- In that same year, 36,000 Boeing employees’ email addresses as well as personal information were compromised after a staff member emailed the file to their spouse for help with formatting.
5 Security concerns that will have you reconsidering composing that next email
#1 – It’s inherently insecure and easily intercepted
Whether they’re run internally, hosted privately, or a public service like Gmail, emails are vulnerable to a range of attacks that put your seemingly private conversations at risk of being read by third parties. DNS Redirects and Sniffers, not to mention certain viruses, are just a few of the threats that can work their way through various servers and to your sensitive information.
#2 – Encryption isn’t as secure as you might think
Most businesses rely on encryption to ensure their emails are kept safe and secure. Encryption protects data by scrambling an email’s contents, so that only the recipient – with the requisite authentication – can see, read, and download.
That said, encryption is far from foolproof. In fact, the false sense of security it grants can leave many vulnerable to attack. Depending on your investment in security, encrypted emails can always be cracked open.
#3 – Human error can’t be accounted for
The focus always falls to high level security risks, but it’s often the mundane ones that can prove to be a business’s undoing. As hard as security staff may try, employees are far from infallible, with fat fingers resulting in unintentional forwards or typos sending sensitive data to just about anyone in their address book.
Rationalised noncompliance is another human hazard to your business and its sensitive information. Surveys have shown that almost two thirds of employees have reported that they regularly use personal technology such as phones and laptops for work purposes, or forward sensitive files to their own personal accounts to be worked on later.
In fact, a survey from Balabit highlighted that some 69% of employees are willing to bypass security and privacy policies purely out of convenience.
#4 – Email servers are prone to attack
Emails pass through many hands on their journey from sender to recipient, often seeing them stored in the cloud – or on servers – which themselves are at risk of malicious attacks able to gain access to this information long before anyone is aware there’s been a breach.
#5 – Files sit on the sender & recipient’s device
One an email is sent, it’s stored in your Outbox and the recipient’s Inbox. That’s why laptops, mobile devices, or just about any piece of technology left on – and logged in – is an easy ingress point for anyone looking to access this information, from partners and family members to disgruntled co-workers or rogue employees.
Say sayonara to insecure communication channels with Stellar Library
With all of this bad news, it’s tempting to shun the digital future and revert back to the ‘good old days’ where paper documents were printed, posted, and held in the hand.
But reactionary decision making such as this is shortsighted. Just because a system did work, doesn’t necessarily make it more secure. Take printed documents. These can easily fall into the wrong hands, be misplaced, or lost in transit, let alone the overhead of printing, managing, and storing all of this paperwork.
Stellar Library’s electronic document distribution software has been specially designed to enable enterprises to embrace the digital future, sans the ‘insecure’ moniker. Unlike email, files aren’t stored on the recipient’s device, and are instead controlled by administrators who can change read, edit, and even printing permissions on any document with just the touch of a button.
While your business may not be able to rewrite email’s shaky history, document management software like Stellar ensures you can write your future – out of the ‘Hacked!’ headlines – and avoid being just another statistic in a long line of security breaches.