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Data leakage via E-mail a real problem

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Research reveals that 70% of businesses are concerned about sensitive material falling into the wrong hands as a result of data leakage via E-mail – and a further 50% of employees admit to having accidentally sent an embarrassing or sensitive E-mail to the wrong person from the workplace, demonstrating that E-mail leakage is a very real concern. 

These are the results of a Sophos online survey. Experts at the company note that it can potentially cause corporate embarrassment, compliance breaches and the loss of business critical information.
"As more and more business and personal interaction is conducted via work e-mail, the risk associated with hitting send without double-checking whether the recipient's details are in fact correct is ever-growing," says Brett Myroff, CEO of master Sophos distributor, NetXactics.
"That the research revealed as many as half of employees have experienced that panicky moment when they realise that their message has been sent to the wrong person shows that the human error factor is too significant to ignore.  
“Businesses would be wise to ensure that their e-mail security solutions have the facility to prevent this from happening, by identifying when sensitive data or attachments are contained in the message, and if they don't, to consider a more water-tight alternative," he says.
To combat the risk of leaked information, Sophos recommends that companies install an e-mail security solution that enables them to scan messages for sensitive data and keywords, and that uses encryption to ensure that business critical e-mails are sent securely.  “An effective appliance will identify and block confidential attachments, including those that have had their file type altered by the sender.  This will ensure that both accidental e-mail loss and leakage by malicious intent are thwarted,” Myroff adds.
Sophos believes that the vast majority of data leakages via e-mail are purely accidental, so companies that put a solid solution and security policy in place, and those that educate employees on responsible e-mail use, will mitigate the risks and dramatically reduce the possibility of critical data loss.