The Risks of Emailing Sensitive Data

Computer HackerIn today’s world almost all of us use email daily in our personal and business lives. It allows for quick, convenient communication between friends and colleagues but may also pose a risk dependent upon the type of information in the email and the data being sent.

Sending information like login names and passwords in the same email can pose a risk as it is formatted in plain text which allows anyone to view it.  Sending a PDF document or an Excel spreadsheet poses the same type of risk, as it can be easily forwarded.  The bigger risk is one people don’t often think about… Can the email be intercepted somewhere between the sender and the recipient?

Emails that are sent normally through Outlook or most web based email providers, are without any type of security signature or encryption software which makes it easier to intercept, read and possibly use the information contained in the email.

An easy way to protect yourself is to use a provider that encrypts all messages before sending them onto your recipient. Vendors like Zix Messaging encrypt emails as soon as they are sent and the emails are retained on a web portal for a number of days before they expire and are deleted. The recipient receives an email alerting them that a secure message is waiting for them. By clicking a link, the recipient logs in with their email address and can read and download any attachments they have received.

Another option is JumbleMe which provides a free service, which makes the email difficult to print, copy and forward.  The free service is capped on the number of emails that can be sent per year, with pay options available.

Information security may seem daunting but the threats are prevalent. Before sending that next Excel spreadsheet or PDF document ask yourself if there’s anything in it that you wouldn’t want anyone besides the intended recipient using or reading. If the answer is yes, explore your options or connect with your IT staff or a trusted IT provider and discuss your security concerns.

Submitted By:

The PCS Tech Team

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and by no means should replace or substitute other legal documents (governmental or non-governmental) reflecting similar content or advice. If you have any questions concerning your situation or the information provided, please consult with an attorney, CPA or HR Professional.

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply