GlobalSign Blog

31 Mar 2015

Most Recent Data Leak Prompts Need for Email Security

Can you imagine doing business without email? The convenience and instant communication it offers have made it an essential component of everyday business and research shows over 100 billion business emails are sent and received every day! 1

Data Leaks

Are you at risk of leaking secure data through Email?

For all of the benefits email has to offer, it also poses some risks. Another sensitive data leak hit the news yesterday, this time sharing a list of 31 world leaders’ passport details, among them David Cameron. The cause? Outlook’s autofill address book facility. As handy as this feature is, it only further opens up the possibility to sharing private information via human error.

With the increase in people receiving emails by mistake and law’s such as the recently passed mandatory metadata retention in Australia, along with other regulations regarding the transmission of sensitive information such as HIPAA, FIPPA and PCI; it is confusing why more organizations don’t choose to secure their email content.

Perhaps email is a little too convenient. It’s all too easy to send sensitive information to someone, leaving it susceptible to falling into the wrong hands.

  • 53% of employees have received unencrypted, risky corporate data via emails or email attachments2.
  • 21% of employees report sending sensitive information without encryption2.

The costs of data loss are staggering, not to mention the damage it does to a company’s reputation and any legal repercussions for violating regulations regarding the transmission and storage of sensitive information (e.g. HIPAA, FIPPA, PCI).

  • 22% of companies experience data loss through email each year3.
  • $3.5 Million is the average cost of a data breach for a company4.

The Solution

Fortunately, there are email security solutions that can help protect you and your organization from these threats. Digitally signing and encrypting your emails ensures message privacy and keeps sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands, while also assuring the recipient that the email actually came from you and has not been altered since it was sent.

Encrypting an email is like sealing your message in a lockbox with only the intended recipient having the key. Anyone who intercepts the message, either in transit or where it’s stored on the server, will not be able to view the contents. Encrypting an email offers the following security benefits.

Confidentiality –the encryption process requires information from the intended recipient, only that intended recipient can view the unencrypted content.

Message Integrity – part of the decryption process involves verifying that the contents of the original encrypted email and the new decrypted email match. Even the slightest change to the original message would cause the decryption process to fail.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when researching solutions, but no one knows your company better than you. Your biggest concerns (phishing, data loss, etc.), your existing email infrastructure, and regulations you need to comply with – those are all unique to your company and will dictate which solution is the best fit.

Do you have any concerns about your company sharing personal information via email? Let us know in the comments.

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Reference:

1 Email Statistics Report 2013-2017, The Radicati Group, Inc.
2 SilverSky Email Security Habits Survey Report, SilverSky, 2013
3 Best Practices in Email, Web, and Social Media Security, Osterman Research, Inc., January 2014
4 Global Cost of Data Breach St’sudy, Ponemon Institute,

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