75% of people have received an email sent to them by mistake says survey

Egress | 17th Jul 2012

London - July 2012

A recent survey carried out by SC Magazine and Egress Software Technologies designed to look at the challenges surrounding the security used by organisations to share sensitive information with third parties has uncovered some startling results!

At a time when fines from the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) for data breaches are on the increase, the correct systems simply aren’t in place to ensure security standards are met. The survey showed that;

  • 94.5% of those surveyed thought that data security systems are often overlooked when sharing confidential information because they are too complicated for the recipient or both the sender and recipient to use.
  • 92.6% of survey confirmed that the ability to prevent an email recipient forwarding on an email was important, something traditional email can't do!
  • Over 10% of firms still rely on fax or registered post to send sensitive data to third parties, whilst 67.9% rely on unsecured email to send this information.
  • When sharing sensitive information, 40% of senders do not know who, when and where that information is being accessed.

Educating users to understand what constitutes sensitive information, including when information needs to be sent securely and what the consequences will be if they fail to comply, also needs additional focus. In fact nearly 40% questioned were either unaware or not sure of the implications of data breaches and fines levied by the ICO and FSA.

Clearly mistakes are still being made on a very regular basis. In fact 74.5% said they have received an Outlook recall request – suggesting a huge number of incorrectly sent emails!

Reflecting on the results, Tony Pepper, CEO for Egress Software Technologies commented, "We continually help organisations that are struggling to tackle the challenge of sharing information securely with third parties. Operating in a market defined by compliance, yet driven by convenience, security solutions need to be simple to use and designed to improve working practises. While they continue to add complexity and unnecessary process, users will invariably avoid using them and instead opt for convenient methods such as unsecure email and consumer file sharing websites. This dramatically increases the likelihood of data loss, potential fines and damaged reputations."

"Through our work with SC Magazine to produce and deliver this survey we have been shocked by the sheer scale of the issue across multiple industry sectors. The fact that 40% of senders do not know what is happening to the information after it has been sent is a real concern both for the organisations responsible for that information and for the people whose data and security has been potentially breached. We find organisations are crying out for help and guidance, not only when selecting the right security technology but also when educating their staff and end users about when and how to send information securely."

About Egress

As advanced persistent threats continue to evolve, we recognize that people are the biggest risk to organizations’ security and are most vulnerable when using email.

Egress, a KnowBe4 company, is the only cloud email security provider to continuously assess human risk and dynamically adapt policy controls, preparing customers to defend against advanced phishing attacks and outbound data breaches before they happen. Leveraging contextual machine learning and neural networks, with seamless integration using cloud-native API architecture, Egress provides enhanced email protection, deep visibility into human risk, and instant time to value.