71% of survey respondents admit to using webmail to send confidential information behind employers’ backs…. …
Independent research commissioned by software specialist Orchestria reveals that Webmail (e.g. Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, LycosMail, Another.com) is used for much more than just communicating to friends, with almost three quarters of respondents (71%) admitting they used it to send information they didn’t want their employers to know about.
Many of the respondents admitted that they had used webmail to send themselves confidential company information, which they thought would be useful when moving to a new job. Examples include customer details, price lists and contact details that users deemed to be of possible use in their new role.
The survey of 130 employees also found that:
- Half (49%) of respondents had accidentally sent an email to the wrong recipient
- Almost a fifth of these accidental emails (16%) had consequences, the most extreme including the loss of business customers and formal warnings, the lighter being “sheer entertainment value for the recipient”.
- Over half of the employees surveyed (58%) admitted to using work email rather than personal email to communicate with their friends, though almost a quarter (23%) said that they also used instant messaging.
Orchestria develops software solutions that provide real-time visibility and control of email, the Web (including Webmail services), instant messaging and other electronic communications. While other products provide means to block users from visiting certain web sites, Orchestria’s Active Policy Management (APM) solution focuses on the content of information exchanged.
Pete Malcolm, founder and CEO of Orchestria explains, “Blocking Websites by address is fundamentally flawed, as it requires a list of many thousands of unauthorized sites to be constantly maintained. Even if a company does go down this route, a determined user can easily set up his own Website, which is very unlikely to be included in the unauthorized list, because it isn’t known. Furthermore, blocking sites by address prevents legitimate activity at those sites – particularly a problem where Webmail is just one of the functions provided by a given site.”
Orchestria’s APM solution can selectively record user activity on the Web, creating a full audit trail of information sent and received. With highly sophisticated detection and warning functionality, APM can determine questionable activity, such as the uploading of a file, or the sending of a message containing confidential information, and warn the user in real-time that his activities may be inappropriate. The user can then be given the choice of proceeding or not, in the knowledge that if he proceeds, his activity will be recorded. Thus legitimate use, for example to work on files at home, is not prevented, but the user is highly unlikely to proceed with any activity his employer may find questionable, especially given that relevant personnel will be immediately alerted, and able to review it. APM even allows recording of information exchanged via secure links, so the user cannot hide by using clandestine means such as “cloak” or “ghost” sites.
Orchestria, which has offices in London and New York and a research and development centre in Taunton, Somerset, counts several of the world’s largest banks and financial institutions as its customers. These organizations rely on Orchestria’s APM solution to monitor the content and context of employee emails, Web activity, and instant messages and to ensure that, in the post-Enron era, their communications comply with ever-tightening regulations such as the Financial Services Authority (FSA) Code of Conduct and US-led legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Corporate Responsibility Act, which can lead to fines, or even imprisonment.
Pete Malcolm, added, “Although we have a strong demand from the financial services industry, keen to ensure that their information boundaries remain intact, we find that we are talking to more and more businesses that are challenged by loss of intellectual property (IP).”
“Additionally, with employees sending and receiving more emails and instant messages, there is not only the danger of employees knowingly sending out information they shouldn’t, but the danger of accidental communication. To have employees conduct business conversations and transactions in a completely unmonitored way is an unnecessary risk.”
The survey was conducted in the City of London by PTL on behalf of Orchestria in June 2004 by street survey. All of the respondents were UK employees that had work and personal email accounts. None of the respondents was required to identify themselves.
Orchestria is the leading innovator in technology that provides unprecedented levels of real-time visibility and control of all electronic communications, including email, the Web and instant messaging. This process is known as Active Policy Management (APM).
Orchestria's APM solution dynamically applies specific and explanatory policy at the point of interaction, which means that non-compliant events, such as information boundary breaches, document-sharing violations or inappropriate disclosures are determined and filtered as they occur.
Orchestria APM has been deployed by some of the world's largest corporations, including Wall Street banks, which face an increased regulatory environment since the introduction of legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) and SEC/NASD regulations. Its pioneering technology: analyzes content, context and concepts; enforces corporate policy; optimizes existing storage solutions; eliminates unauthorized data loss and ensures regulatory compliance.
Founded in August 2000, Orchestria has offices in New York and London, and a dedicated development facility based in Taunton, UK. It is a privately held company. More details can be found at www.orchestria.com.
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