Study: 68% of Employees Engage In Risky E-Mail Practices

Study: 68% of Employees Engage In Risky E-Mail Practices
According to a Harris Interactive survey of U.S. office workers, 68% of employees have sent or received e-mails that could pose a risk to their company.

The survey shows that even if you think you’re e-mailing out a harmless joke, gossip, or innocent information about your company, you could be putting yourself – and your employer – at risk. Although the poll found that 68% of U.S. employees who use e-mail at work have sent or received risky messages, 92% fail to see that the e-mails could harm their company. That means there’s a substantial discrepancy between employees’ perceived and actual risks.

The survey examined the e-mail habits of over 1,000 individuals and uncovered a number of issues that raise concerns for businesses – both in the way employees are using and storing their corporate e-mail.

A majority of employees who use e-mail at work (61%) admit they’ve sent personal messages. And nearly half (48%) say they’ve sent or received joke e-mails, funny pictures/movies, funny stories of a questionable tone (e.g., racy/sexual content, politically incorrect), while 22% have sent or received a password or log-in information via e-mail.

When shared through e-mail, this type of content poses significant risks to businesses, either from a possible security breach or employee-driven lawsuits.

Be smart
Here are some easily remembered, simple tips to keep yourself and your employer out of e-mail hot water:

- Your e-mail does not belong to you, but rather to your company. That’s a simple fact, with many legal precedents.

- Write e-mails as if your boss will read them and evaluate them on their level of professionalism.

- Even if your employer allows personal e-mail to be sent from work computers, keep the practice to a minimum.

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