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How Secure is Email? - You Should Start Thinking Before You Send

    
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It is quite likely that some of the individuals reading this post never experienced life without email. Of course, there are surely plenty of readers who remember the good ole days of handwriting correspondence and standing in line at the post office to mail important documents. Regardless of which group one fits into, it is difficult to imagine having to function without email now that it has become an integral facet of daily life.

Many companies rely (almost exclusively) on email for internal communication with employees and external communication with clients and vendors. This is generally true across all industries and sectors, and most people don’t think twice about the emails they fire off throughout the day, or the attachments that frequently go along with those messages. However, despite the prevalence and utility of email, it is not necessarily the best method for sharing important or sensitive documents. Although email security has certainly improved since its inception (such as the implementation of encrypted passwords), it is far from being a completely secure means of transmitting important information.

 For example, an email does not simply go from the sender to the recipient instantaneously. In fact, most emails have to travel across multiple networks and servers before arriving in their intended audience’s inbox. These pause points expose emails to attack, usually due to unsecure networks, vulnerable servers, and the people savvy enough to hack them. Moreover, because email messages generally aren’t encrypted, hackers who manage to break into a network or server can easily read those emails, as well as any accompanying attachments. Some servers store emails that are decades old, and some that were actually deleted at some point. Even if hackers don’t directly target or obtain email messages, they can go after the password needed to enter an email account since many providers don’t require two-factor authentication.

 In addition, once an email is sent, the sender cannot prevent any recipients from further disseminating the content because emails are easily forwarded, saved, and printed. Plus, with emails accessible on various electronic devices, the likelihood of unwelcome exposure increases. It is possible for a sender’s devices and emails to be compromised, and the recipient’s are susceptible to theft and intrusion as well.

 Although email is a useful and necessary means of communicating these days, there are too many ways that confidential information may be discovered and exploited when sent via email. Thus, it is imperative for companies to assess their file and document sharing practices and consider investing in a service with the utmost security tools.

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