How safe is your email and how can you protect it?
Emails are surprisingly vulnerable to interception and theft of data could see companies receive a fine of up to £500,000, warns Paul Pettitt, managing director of Origo
While we are all aware of the need to keep our data safe behind firewalls, through regular back-ups and the employment of software to protect against viruses, phishing, malware and other threats, one area that often is overlooked is the vulnerability of our emails.
From the time an email is sent until the point at which it arrives at its destination, it travels along a web of public, unprotected and insecure networks. This leaves it open to electronic eavesdropping, spying and theft.
If you think about the sensitive information that is sent between financial advisers/planners and their clients, this could include personal data, application forms, reporting on portfolios, authorisation requests, medical data, bank details, etc.
Even internal communications, emails sent between people in the same company, are vulnerable. While in a protected network, if emails are unencrypted, they are still susceptible to malicious and determined insiders, thereby putting the information contained in those emails at risk. This could include emails about sensitive issues such as the firm’s finances, business direction and employees.
Among the most vulnerable documents are: • Financial spreadsheets • Sales pipelines • Customer details • Competitive analyses • Marketing plans • Development roadmaps • Contracts • Board meeting minutes • Employee details
Increased regulatory scrutiny
Currently, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), is able to fine a UK organisation that breaches data protection regulation up to a maximum of £500,000. However, there are proposals to increase that maximum to 2% of a company’s global turnover. This proposed increase reflects the growing importance that the ICO is placing on this issue, and it includes information and data sent by email.
It is easy to see how theft of data or unauthorised access to personal details leading to a fine like that, would not only damage a firm financially but would have a devastating effect on a company’s reputation, potentially even causing customers, advisers and partners to lose faith in the company they have invested in and trusted.
As the eCommerce standards and services body for the financial services industry, Origo, through our Unipass Securemail service can provide a safe, easy-to-use and cost effective solution to this problem that can be quickly and easily employed by advisers, their clients, platforms and providers.
For more on secure mail CLICK HERE