Email may be the riskiest tool your workplace is using

Email overload
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The frequency with which sensitive information is shared over email is placing many businesses at risk of data breaches, new research reveals.

According to a report from email security firm Egress, almost all (95%) IT leaders believe client and company data shared via email is at risk, while 85% said their firm has suffered an email-related breach in the last twelve months.

The survey of 500 IT staff and 3,000 remote workers revealed that 24% of breaches are caused by human error. This includes incidents whereby employees share sensitive data by accident, by attaching the wrong file or sending a message to the incorrect recipient.

The report also claims that 79% of IT leaders deploy static email data loss prevention (DLP) solutions, but find their usefulness limited and experience various difficulties. According to the 42% IT leaders interviewed, data security platform (DSP) tools failed to uncover half of breaches that occurred.

Remote working is partly to blame

Another significant factor is the remote working environment, in which distractions and interruptions are commonplace, as reported by 60% home workers. Most said they have experienced a decline in their mental state due to the pandemic, with the blurring of home and work life resulting in longer hours.

The majority of employees reported an increase in email use while working from home, while 80% revealed that they use email to share confidential information.

Most employees (74%) also said that they access work emails outside of their working hours and a quarter (24%) revealed that they often juggle multiple other activities at the same time.

Many IT leaders, meanwhile, reported a rise in data breaches that correlates with the transition to remote working.

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.