65% of employees have sent a work email to the wrong person

Industry news

Boston, MA - June 10, 2020 - Data released by Egress highlights the pervasive problem of misdirected emails for organizations globally. The straw poll, commissioned by Egress and conducted by CitizenMe, asked 300 email users in the US and 300 email users in the UK about their email errors. The poll found that almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents admitted to sending emails to the wrong recipients, with everything from confidential figures to court documents going astray. 

Red-faced respondents say they don’t report email errors

Although 65% respondents admitted to sending work emails to the wrong recipient, anecdotal comments from those who admitted to doing this also showed that they hadn’t reported the incident to their line managers.

Anecdotal responses

Mistake: I once sent confidential figures to a colleague in my team rather than the CEO as they both had the same first name. Outlook gave me her name as a suggestion rather than the CEO.

Did you report it? No, my colleague saw my mistake and quietly told me.              

Mistake: I sent a document for a bankruptcy to the wrong client because I mixed up two small businesses.  Both were chapter 7 bankruptcies filed around the same time and they both began with the letter A.  I accidentally sent a document that came in from court to the wrong client because I confused the two, as previously mentioned.

Did you report it? No I did not. We are small business and I apologized to the client it was sent to and advised to disregard.  Then I sent the document to the correct person.

Mistake: I emailed an Excel sheet about future investment opportunities to the wrong person.

Did you report it? No, just apologized and sent it to the right receiver.

Elevated risk environment

The results of this poll show that while email data breaches are an issue that affect the majority of employees, most incidents go unreported, making it difficult for CISOs and their security teams to fully grasp and tackle this problem. What’s more, with the majority of US employees now working remotely or in remote-office hybrid roles, we’ve seen a 23% increase in email usage due to the pandemic. Imagine what the true cost of misdirected emails would be if all were reported as data breaches?

In this elevated risk environment, where misdirected emails can have devastating repercussions if personal or corporate data is exposed, it is paramount that organizations provide staff with technology that stops outbound emails going to unintended recipients.

COVID-19: a catalyst for Digital Transformation

Post Covid-19 it remains to be seen what the new normal will look like but all indications are pointing to increased remote and flexible working across the board. Organizations will then have the opportunity to distribute finances previously allocated to expensive real estate for other purposes. With remote working seemingly here to stay and email remaining the most common business communication tool, intelligent email security that prevents breaches and protected data must become a central part of organizations’ digital transformation stories. 

About Egress

Our vision is for a connected world in which people communicate efficiently and securely. To achieve this, we provide human layer security to protect individual users and stop breaches before they happen. Our patented technologies are built using leading-edge contextual machine learning and powerful encryption that mitigate modern risks in ways that other solutions simply can’t achieve.

Today, we provide intelligent email security and collaboration solutions that prevent accidental and intentional breaches, protect sensitive data, and equip CISOs and their teams with the detailed reporting required for compliance purposes.

Egress is headquartered in London, with regional offices in the UK, the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

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