Who’s protecting your e-mail from fired employees?

When workers get laid off in an economic downturn, the result is often a climate of mistrust — workers lose their confidence in management and business leaders

become increasingly suspicious of employees.

Nowhere is this climate of mistrust felt more keenly than e-mail and data management.

A recent Proofpoint study of 220 e-mail decision makers at U.S. companies found that 42% of respondents believe  increasing layoffs at their organizations have created an increased risk of data leakage.

At 46% of U.S. companies, regular audits of outbound e-mail content are conducted. In companies with more than 20,000 employees, a whopping 48% employ staff to read or otherwise analyze outbound messages.

It would seem their suspicions are well founded:

  • More than a third (34%) of U.S. companies say their business was impacted by the exposure of sensitive or embarrassing information in the last year
  • 43% of U.S. companies investigated a suspected e-mail leak of confidential or proprietary information in the same period, and
  • One in five U.S. companies investigated the exposure of confidential, sensitive or private information via lost or stolen mobile devices.

In many cases, those who leaked the info were fired. The survey found that 31% of companies terminated an employee for violating e-mail policies in the past year.

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