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Freedom to Focus - Effective workplace communications: What tools, what risks?

We recently commissioned the largest global survey into secure digital communications and workplace productivity, speaking with over 6,000 employees and 850 IT decision makers in Europe and the US. Our report, Freedom to Focus: securely empowered employees, protected businesses, investigates the state of cybersecurity in wake of hybrid working and escalating digital transformation. 

Haven’t downloaded the report yet? Here’s a brief insight into our findings.

Great work doesn’t happen by chance. To create the best possible conditions for employee success, IT leaders need to implement tools, platforms and procedures that give every member of staff the freedom to focus, communicate freely, and even take a few risks now and again (all while ensuring there’s no actual data security risk to the business).

The first step to achieving that is understanding how employees are collaborating, sharing and communicating today.

Email is king - but it's not infallible

Instant messaging and video platforms have been in the spotlight over the last few years, but as it turns out, email is still the communication method most widely used by employees.

And employees don’t just use email the most: they actively believe it’s the most valuable and safest communication method. Nine in ten (88%) say they rely on email to get their job done, while 81% think email is the most secure way to send sensitive information.

Methods of workplace communication most relied on by employees to get their job done:

  • 75% say email
  • 49% say face to face/in person
  • 43% say instant messaging
  • 41% say video call
  • 41% say phone

Just because email is familiar, doesn’t mean it’s safe

While employees like and trust email, it isn’t foolproof from a business security perspective. There’s a real risk that employees simply presume email is safe because it feels familiar and useful – but that isn’t necessarily the case. 

Messages can be intercepted once they have been sent. More understanding by IT leaders of applying semantic-aware, tailored secure encryption based on the sensitivity of content and detection of the recipient’s security levels is key.

In addition, 62% of employees say they have made ‘email errors’ in the last two years, ranging from accidentally sending the wrong attachments to knowingly sending sensitive information that they probably shouldn’t have.

Worryingly, employees are far more likely to make these errors when they’re unable to focus. Elsewhere in our interviews, 45% of employees admitted that they have made risky decisions at work due to time constraints.

“In our ever-evolving world of technology, innovation and increasingly complex modes of communication, the time spent simply focusing on each action we have decreases both in quantity and quality. As humans, we are only equipped with a certain attention span, and given the increasing demands of the workplace, as we grapple to both absorb and learn more technologies (...) something is bound to give. In many cases, that something is security.”

Shira Rubinoff, Cybersecurity Executive, Advisor and Author


Email errors made by employees in the last two years:

  • 35% have sent the wrong attachment in an email
  • 25% have accidentally ‘replied all’ on an email
  • 18% have sent sensitive information via email that they probably shouldn’t have
  • 17% have knowingly sent an email to the wrong person

But what causes employees to make mistakes? The answer isn’t always down to simple human error. In fact, employees explicitly referred to being busy or distracted, and feeling stressed and frustrated. 

So what can IT leaders do to secure this most important communication platform, and empower people to avoid causing accidental data leaks? 

Download the free report to find out and hear from cybersecurity experts including:

  • Steve Bond, Information Rights Manager, Open University
  • Martin Viech, Freelance Writer, Analyst and Contributing Editor at IDG Connect
  • Shira Rubinoff, Cybersecurity Executive, Advisor and Author

Get your hands on the free report now.

First published -
Last updated - 08/08/22
Freedom to Focus - Effective workplace communications: What tools, what risks?
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