A recent Outbound Email Security Report from Egress has revealed that stressed, tired employees are behind four in 10 of the most severe data breach incidents. As stress levels rise, rushed employees are more likely to make simple mistakes such as sending an email to the wrong person, or attaching the wrong file.

With remote workers facing distractions from childcare to delivery drivers ringing the doorbell, and stress levels spiking as we head into new lockdowns around the world, employees are likely to make simple mistakes such as sending an email to the wrong person, possibly exposing sensitive data.

  • In fact, the research found that 80% of organizations have had sensitive data put at risk because of an employee sending an email to the wrong person

Remote working  & surging email volumes increasing the risk

  • Due to the pandemic, 93% of businesses have reported an increase in outbound emails, with one-in-two IT leaders reporting an increase of over 50%.
    • With this surge in email activity looking set to continue as new restrictions mean many will be working remotely for longer, the surface area for risk of an outbound email data breach is growing.
  • 35% of severe incidents over the last 12 months were caused by remote working, further increasing the risk to businesses
  • Data breaches as a result of outbound email are often overlooked and underreported, meaning businesses and people aren’t aware of the true scale of the problem. In fact, the ICO recently reported misdirected emails are the #1 cause of categorized incidents reported, and responsible for 44% more incidents than phishing attacks.

“Many employees are experiencing heightened stress due to the pandemic and the uncertainty it’s created. They’re also trying to get through their working day, while dealing with various distractions, from keeping the kids entertained or focused on schoolwork, to answering the door for deliveries, said Egress CEO, Tony Pepper. "Remote working has further blurred the lines between our work and home lives, with research showing that work-life balance is suffering as a result. The pandemic, and the resulting move to remote working, has meant that many employees are stressed and tired, meaning that mistakes are more likely to happen. Every employee has access to email, meaning that every employee can potentially cause an inadvertent insider data breach. That risk is amplified by the stress and fatigue employees are currently dealing with. It’s up to organizations to ensure that they have the right tools in place to prevent these incidents before they can happen.”