With an estimated 306 billion emails sent and received each day worldwide, electronic communication is clearly an essential business tool. But in the same way email makes business more efficient, all those data packets traveling in and out of your company’s email system pose potential risks to your business.
Know the risks
While leaks of your company’s confidential or proprietary information via employee email are always a danger, messages carelessly worded that create legal headaches for businesses are more common. A recent study showed that nearly one in four outgoing emails contains content that poses legal, financial, or regulatory risks for your business.
- Insert a legal footer. At the bottom of all emails, place a static confidentiality statement for legal protection.
- Create an email policy. Create an email policy and have your legal team review it. Then work to monitor compliance within your organization. Emails are never places to promise pricing or tax information. Purchase orders and tax returns are where this information belongs.
Protect your business
In addition to creating a working policy here are ideas to consider as part of your policy or as ideas to better protect your business.
- Notify employees that the email system is the property of the company and may be subject to monitoring at the company’s discretion.
- Require that personal emails be sent only from employees’ personal accounts, from their personal devices, and not from a business email address on the company’s computer. By the same token, employees should not use their personal email accounts to send messages related to the business.
- Explain best practices for avoiding scams and thwarting cyberattacks, including not clicking on links or downloading documents from unknown senders.
- Prohibit messages that are obscene, discriminatory, harassing, or inappropriate, and clearly state the consequences for any violations.
Instituting a comprehensive email policy is only part of an effective protection plan. Monitoring and enforcing those rules and periodic training for all employees are also essential components.