Effective email data protection must be secure and simple to use

3 min read
Data Protection Day

Data Protection Day

A massive influx of digital communication tools have entered the market in recent years. The proliferation of these online communication channels has enabled many organizations to phase out more traditional methods such as fax, couriers and snail mail. But with so many communications being exchanged digitally, the amount of data and information being stored has also increased exponentially, creating new risks.

On top of this, the massive shift to remote working, and the expectation that this will continue for some time, means that many organizations are struggling to adapt with the pace of change and the corresponding security challenges.

While the transition to digital communications has accelerated lately, the privacy and security risks have often been overlooked. As an organization, how can you ensure that digitization and effective data security can go hand in hand?

Effective data protection in the digital age

Perceptions and attitudes towards what is considered publicly-available information has shifted notably in recent decades. Many people who did not grow up as digital natives can remember a time when locating a person’s home phone number or address was simply a matter of checking the locally printed telephone book. At the time, that form of personal information (name, telephone number and address) was essentially considered Public by Default instead of Privacy by Default.

Now with privacy regulations in place such as the GDPR and CCPA, consumers and residents have more visibility and legal rights on how their own personal data is handled. Read more on evolving data protection legislation worldwide in this article. Both the GDPR and CCPA serve to make organizations more transparent and accountable for the data they do collect, and especially what they do with it.

Failure for organizations to properly comply can result in large fines and penalties. Ultimately, it’s in an organization's best interests to protect the privacy and sensitive data of its customers, residents, patients and clients. In some cases, a large data breach leads to major reputational damage alongside the high costs involved in updating IT systems and managing the 'leak'.

Protect sensitive data, and your organization’s reputation

Many companies are eager to embrace digital change, as the benefits are well-known. Productivity increases, while you can also enhance how you engage with customers, patients and business partners.

In many cases, cost savings are also realized when moving away from more traditional communication channels. But these new digital channels have led to an exponential increase in data breaches. Most of them are caused by email and tend to be inadvertent mistakes made by staff. Yet these can have serious and far-reaching consequences.

In any given news cycle there are reports of organizations experiencing significant data breaches, potentially impacting thousands, if not millions of people with just a few keystrokes or by failing to properly protect data. Here are a few high profile data breach incidents that made headlines:

British Airways: they received an eye-popping fine by the ICO for €22 million for failing to properly safeguard the data of more than 400,000 customers.

Marriott International Inc: a serious data breach that occurred in 2014 only came to light in 2018 when it was discovered that over 339 million guest records had been exposed, which resulted in a heavy fine of €20 million.

According to the 2021 report from DLA Piper on data breaches, throughout 2020 there were, on average, 331 breach notifications per day (this is a 19% increase compared to the 2019 average of 278 notifications per day). This trend is expected to continue globally, and organizations must be able to ensure proper measures are in place to safeguard sensitive data and prevent data leaks and breaches.

Smart technology can prevent data leaks

People will occasionally make mistakes, and staff play an integral role in minimizing the likelihood of data leaks occurring. While it is recommended to equip them with secure communication tools designed to prevent human error, such as Zivver, they also need to be empowered to help safeguard data within an organization, in which awareness is the first step.

Treating every day like it's Data Protection Day can help colleagues develop a stronger sense of security awareness, with an aim of protecting data every day of the year, long after any #DataPrivacyDay posts have disappeared from our social feeds.

Looking to improve your email data protection?

Zivver helps organizations of all sizes enhance their email data protection with simple yet highly effective solutions that integrate with the most popular email clients. The service can be up and running quickly and is ideally suited for a remote workforce. 

To learn how we can improve your organization's communication security and prevent data leaks, please contact us or view our pricing page

If you'd like to see how Zivver helps thousands of organizations secure their digital communications and safeguard sensitive data, visit our customer stories section.

Written by

Kate O'Neill

Originally published on January 28, 2021

Last update on January 28, 2021