Risk
4/25/2011
02:51 PM
50%
50%

Users Still Careless With Email

Company employees still consistently send confidential and sensitive information via email in violation of rules and regulations, according to a survey by VaporStream.

While not necessarily a surprise, secure email is a huge problem for enterprises. In a survey of how people use email shows that employees may be a bit too loose with their email use when it comes to sensitive and protected information, according to secure messaging service provider VaporStream. Of course, the results play into the services the messaging provider offers, but the results are nonetheless scary for any business--especially those in regulated industries.

For instance, respondents were asked: "Have your or any member of your organization ever sent information via email that was in violation of regulatory compliance?" An unexpectedly high 73.7% of those from companies with 100 or more employees said they did so accidently. Another 28% admitted to doing so intentionally. Smaller businesses faired better, perhaps because many of them escape the regulatory grip. Roughly 25% of those organizations answered yes to "accidentally" or "intentionally."

It also appears "sender's remorse" is a common affliction. About 50% indicated that they have worried about what might happen to emails after they sent them. Around 20% said that emails have "haunted" them after being sent.

A surprisingly low 3 out of 10 respondents said that they send private and confidential business information by email. One would think that figure would be close to 100%.

About 10% of respondents say they have accidently leaked confidential information. And 60% of those surveyed have accidently hit "reply all" when responding to an e-mail.

The question is, after about 40 years of using email, why don't we have a better handle on sharing data more securely with it? Security awareness training might help, but probably not a lot. Some companies may consider sanctioning employees who abuse email by sending regulated information insecurely, while others may let users know that their work emails are monitored.

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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

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