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More than 4 in 10 business executives share sensitive information via email, yet 35% are unaware of how that information is protected, according to a survey of more than 300 European and US executives.
Despite a record number of data breaches affecting more than a billion people in 2018, almost 10% of business leaders polled are also still unaware of the financial consequences of data theft and failure to comply with laws such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The company said the trends identified by the survey are alarming in light of the fact that email-based attacks are reportedly gaining momentum, hitting a majority of organisations and the fact that data breaches at large organisations continue, seemingly unabated.
However, the poll also shows that the popularity of secure collaboration tools within businesses is growing, with 92% of respondents agreeing that collaboration tools are the best communication solutions to offer employees for work communication.
As Generation Z (the generation after millennials) enter the workforce in greater numbers, most respondents believe they will lead the charge in changing habits. The survey shows that 76% of executives predict that they will use another form of communication rather than email to communicate at work, due to the influence of the next generation of workers.
This fits with industry trends which suggest that 44% of young workers consider their organisation’s communications methods outdated, with 43% demotivated by poor communication.
The survey also shows that businesses understand that they need to adapt to increased data breaches by implementing robust and secure collaboration tools that empower rather than endanger their workforces, with 81% of respondents wanting their organisation to be more proactive in the ways it protects its sensitive information, communication, and/or data.
The majority (83%) also said it would be useful to be able to extend a company’s secure communication infrastructure to business partners and customers, with 79% saying they believe that security and compliance are key parameters when selecting cloud business solutions.
Commenting on the survey findings, Wire’s CEO, Morten Brøgger, said that despite a growing awareness of cyber threats, many organisations still fall behind in understanding the risks and ways to avoid them.
“With the volume of sensitive data that that now crosses our networks increasing and with our workforces changing, businesses need secure and flexible collaboration tools that will help them address the challenges of the modern world.
“By following an approach which better takes advantage of secure IM [instant messaging] platforms, businesses will be better guarded against sophisticated, targeted attacks, veering away from an inefficient, reactionary seek-and-destroy approach to an embedded culture of front-line engagement and protection.”
Read more about email security
- How to improve security against email attacks and for GDPR compliance.
- UK businesses exposed to email-borne cyber risks, survey shows.
- Email is the number one entry point for data breaches, which includes targeted email attacks such as business email compromise and spear phishing.