MessageGate Reveals Email Myths

Misinformation and misperceptions stifle enterprise email governance and controls

December 6, 2007

3 Min Read
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BELLEVUE, Wash. -- MessageGate, Inc., a leader in practical email governance, continues its ongoing fight against corporate email misinformation by identifying the top seven myths commonly associated with corporate email governance and controls. The myths stem from reoccurring misperceptions uncovered during MessageGate Activity Profile (MAP) customer audits.

Misinformation is dangerous when it comes to enterprise email governance, especially when combating data leakage in heavily-regulated corporate environments,” said Shaun Wolfe, CEO for MessageGate. “Falling victim to common email misperceptions wastes valuable IT time and budget, which is why MessageGate separates fact from fiction to deliver practical email controls. Our analysis often uncovers customer governance laid to waste due to common myths, especially sensitive data sent to unintended external recipients caused by email control gaps.”

The Top Seven Myths for Enterprise Email Governance:

1. My company does not have a data leakage problem.

In reality, all companies experience some form of data leakage. Most instances are non-malicious (research indicates that 80 percent of all data leaks are unintentional). Most breaches can be attributed to employees moving sensitive files to continue work from home. Web-based email is the biggest culprit, offering remote access outside of the corporate network. These unintentional data leaks must be addressed.2. IT “owns” email and is ultimately responsible for its destiny.

Email ownership is a continuing battle. On one hand, employees claim ownership of email as creator of the message. IT departments, however, see it as their asset to manage because it resides on the corporate network. Neither is an absolute truth. Email has risen to become a legal business record. In fact, email is now the most common form of electronic evidence requested during litigation discovery. As a result, the corporation as a whole is ultimately responsible for each and every email traveling across its network. This includes the C-suite, legal counsel, IT and the employee.

3. IT must read every incoming and outgoing message for email controls to be effective.

The “big brother” concept does not resonate in most corporate settings. In addition, most IT departments lack the budget and manpower to police each and every message. A more appealing option is to automate the process through email governance software using both lexicon and contextual controls. These applications prevent unintentional data leaks while also educating employees on acceptable email use.

4. Email controls only hamper employee productivity.Unfortunately, much of this false impression is earned from legacy solutions. Email controls software, however, has come a long way. Modern solutions increase security, while also ensuring that all employees follow uniform archiving and other governance policies, with little-to-no user interruption.

5. Securing the corporate network ensures email confidentiality.

Employees often believe that emails are only accessible to their intended recipients. IT departments add to the misperception by assuming corporate network security efforts are enough. In reality, productivity often negates security precautions. Employees create local copies of their Outlook PST file to their local machine to bypass burdensome security procedures. As a result, there is little protecting the files if the laptop is lost, stolen, or simply left unattended.

6. Instant messaging (IM) is a bigger threat than email.

IM, text messaging and other alternative communication channels receive a lot of hype for data field. Each diverts attention from the true 800-pound gorilla – email security. Email is still the largest communication channel used within corporate environments, representing the biggest data leakage threat. Practical governance starts with email, and expands to include alternative channels once a solid foundation is established. True multi-channel governance is not possible without first creating a minimum threshold of corporate responsibility surrounding email.7. Spam, email viruses and other incoming threats have diminished.

The simple fact is that most publicity now surrounds outgoing email security. Incoming email threats have not diminished. In fact, analysts predict spam to grow to as much as 80 percent of all email traffic by 2011. Business must remain vigilant against incoming threats by protecting the gateway through a variety of email security systems, including filters and virus scanners.

MessageGate Inc.

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