Mistakes while emailing can be disastrous, but prevention is easier than you think!

3 min read



If hackers and cybercriminals are your biggest concern when it comes to cybersecurity, it might be time to look somewhere else for the cause of the vast majority of data leaks. It is well documented that the actual offender is that lovely and well-intended colleague sitting right next to you, and not a malicious individual in North Korea like the media often portraits. Besides, the price tag related to data leaks is usually “forgotten” on media reports.

Humans are not infallible — we all make mistakes, and sometimes they’re big ones, and the bigger the mistake, the bigger the consequences. To make matters worse, a small detail such as misspelling an email address might have severe ramifications or even take you out of business.

The inconvenience of data loss can have significant implications for your business depending on its severity and nature. The numbers below paint a picture that most entrepreneurs are unaware of. They signify the consequences of any kind of data loss (not only in digital communication) such as hardware misplacement, damage or theft.

  • 94 % of companies that experience severe data loss do not recover.
  • 51 % of these companies close within two years of the data loss.
  • 43 % of these companies do not reopen again.
  • 70 % of small firms go out of business within a year of a significant data leak incident.

The unfortunate reality is that data leaks are on the rise, across multiple business sectors that people depend on for various reasons on a daily basis. In 2018 the Dutch Data Protection Authority reported 20.881 incidents, most data leaks took place in the healthcare and welfare sectors (29%), financial services (26%), and public administration (17%).

A simple and unintended mistake can cost a fortune, your reputation, and the peace of mind of your customers. Let’s reverse things for a second, if you were a direct victim of a data leak, would you still conduct business with the organization responsible for it? Read the following example reported by the BBC news and ask yourself.

Clinic leaks the HIV status of patients

The 56 Dean Street clinic in London – one of Europe’s busiest sexual health clinics – mistakenly revealed the names and addresses of 780 people subscribed to an HIV newsletter, which included, but was not limited to, patients with HIV.

Recipients of an emailed newsletter were supposed to be blind-copied, but whoever sent it mistakenly copied email addresses into the “To:” field rather than “BCC:,” with the result that every recipient could see everyone else’s names and email addresses. The BBC reported that the employee responsible was “distraught” at their error. The clinic was fined 180.000 pounds and had no option but to release a humiliating public apology. Since the incident 2 years ago it has yet not fully recovered from the financial and image damage.

The solution to prevent human error concerning emailing is simple and much cheaper then 180.000 pounds.

Human errors as the one mentioned above can be prevented by using systems that warn employees regarding "risky behavior." For example, a warning would be given when sensitive private information is added to an email; such as an attachment containing multiple social security numbers, and/or if the message is addressed to a new contact or multiple recipients. In addition, strict security measures would be put in place (e.g., encryption of personal health data and 2-factor authentication protection).

This technology is often referred to as a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) software. Zivver is a user/implementation friendly DLP solution designed for business communication, like email and file sharing. Comparing with other DLP providers, one feature unique to our solution is the combination of monitoring content and irregular email recipients simultaneously. This feature alone increases the protection level notably. Download our product sheet for information about this feature and many others.


Your organization will be up and running in no time with Zivver, and there are no switching costs since it integrates seamlessly to Outlook. The interface is simple yet powerful. It is easy to use from day one, and our web and mobile application resemble popular email clients. Additionally, the use of our platform on a daily basis will significantly raise your employees’ awareness in regards to data privacy/protection; while teaching them digital communication best practices.

Implementation is a breeze, organizations with up to 50 employees are able to implement Zivver themselves. For larger organizations, our implementation team will handle it for you on site. Choosing ZIivver is a no brainer after all; can you put a price on your reputation? 

Everything you need to know about secure mail

This blog emphasizes how human error can have serious consequences for your organization. There is more you can do to prevent human error and keep your email secure. For more information, visit our Secure Email page below. 

Go to our secure email page


Written by

Renato Zamagna

Originally published on June 13, 2019

Last update on February 5, 2021