Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We’ve all done it. Clicked on “Send” and immediately had our heart miss a beat as we realized that the e-mail was on its way to someone it wasn’t intended for.

No surprise, but a recent study found that 50 percent of all workers admitted to sending e-mails to the wrong person. Of course, most of the other 50 percent are probably in denial.

The survey, conducted by IT security firm Sophos, found that misdirected e-mails happen all the time. It’s not just the spectacular blunders we hear about – intending to send to a fellow employee an e-mail that makes fun of the boss, but mistakenly addressing it to the boss himself. More likely, it’s the inadvertent misdirection of confidential material, related to personnel, finances, or business strategy.

It’s a real concern. 75 percent of surveyed companies worry about sensitive information being leaked by e-mails.

Sophos, naturally, is interested in selling its software product that scans e-mail for critical keywords to filter out some of the problem, but that’s unlikely to plug all holes. The natural thought is that employees have to be educated to double-check messages before clicking on “Send,” but that it is not a trivial task. Somewhere between technology and training lies the solution, and this is a problem that more and more companies will have to struggle with.

No comments: