The secret to thwarting data leaks? Securing your outbound email.

Did you know that over 160,000 data breaches have been reported across the EU since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018? That amounts to hundreds of incidents every single day. While some of these data breaches generate headlines, such as the massive Marriott International or British Airways incidents (currently under appeal), the majority of cases receive much less fanfare, if they make the news at all.

Safeguarding data in the age of data protection

Compliancy can seem like a daunting task for many organizations, but it doesn’t have to be. Today there are data leak prevention tools designed to integrate seamlessly with popular email applications such as Outlook and Gmail, so users don't need to change their existing work habits (which can often be very challenging).

Human error is unlikely to ever be completely eliminated. Some secure communication platforms can detect a range of common mistakes which occur at each stage of the communication journey. This means that mistakes can be more easily prevented before lasting damage can be done to an organization.

Enhancing human performance

A secure communication platform doesn’t serve to replace the role of individuals in an organization. Instead, it enhances human performance by alerting users of any anomalies detected while emailing, so they can take corrective action if necessary before hitting send.

Some of the most common examples of human error while emailing include:

  • Sending the information to the wrong recipient;
  • Adding the wrong attachment;
  • Exposing recipient information via the To or Cc fields, when Bcc should have been used;
  • Unauthorized access to data, usually due to weak passwords and lack of two-factor authentication.

Data leaks and breaches are costly in numerous ways 

Privacy watchdogs have avowed to ramp up their monitoring efforts as organizations of all sizes are now mandated to be GDPR compliant, and repeat offenders will face increased scrutiny by authorities. According to the latest data breach report by DLA Piper, higher fines for GDPR violations are anticipated this year, reaching into the millions of euros per incident. 

Last year, Germany’s data protection authorities proposed their own methodology for calculating higher penalties under the GDPR. It remains to be seen whether this methodology will be adopted in Germany, but all signs are pointing to more robust compliance monitoring across the EU, including higher fines. The UK, meanwhile, has agreed to adhere to the GDPR legislation they helped to enact prior to Brexit until at least the end of 2020. It is anticipated that any forthcoming data protection legislation in the UK will largely resemble the existing GDPR framework. This would be consistent with how the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) was designed. The CCPA is the first law of its kind, but surely not the last, for data protection legislation in the United States, more states are expected to follow suit in the coming years. 

Is your organization sending communications securely? 

It should come as no surprise that many companies still have work to do to effectively manage their outbound email security. While a primary catalyst for implementing a secure email solution is often compliance-oriented, there are other advantages to implementing a more robust security solution. A modern outbound email security solution can help unlock additional benefits and boost stakeholder value across several areas, such as:

  • Increasing productivity by using email instead of snail-mail, fax and USB sticks;
  • Lowering costs via reduced use of snail-mail, USB sticks and couriers;
  • Less use of costly, ineffective portals;
  • Lowering costs of manually copying information to a source system;
  • Strengthening brand value (via an outbound email security solution that enables customers to add their company logo and corporate branding to each secure message that is sent).

Read our new Whitepaper on Outbound Email Security Essentials to get a better understanding of how your organization can use a secure communication platform to prevent costly data leaks.

Download the Email Security Essentials Whitepaper



Written by

Kate O'Neill

Originally published on February 21, 2020

Last update on February 5, 2021