Survey Series, Part 4: Industries most affected by email data loss


Thought Leadership

Survey Series, Part 4: Industries most affected by email data loss

Jim Brashear

As many know, it takes years to build trust with customers and only seconds to lose it. The protection of private customer data is essential to maintaining customer trust and loyalty, and email encryption has become a significant component of organizations’ security strategy. The Ponemon Institute survey found the majority of all respondents perceive email as a main source of data leakage and view secure email as a high priority.

No matter the industry, customer protection is a top priority. However, various industries face an extra burden beyond protecting customer relationships. Specifically, companies in healthcare and financial services are challenged by immense amounts of electronic data and ever-increasing regulatory requirements for the protection of that data.

Covered entities and their business associates must secure protected health information (PHI) based on the standards of the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Financial institutions must follow the data protection guidelines imposed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).

The burdens imposed by these regulations are reflected in the Ponemon Study. Respondents within the healthcare organizations viewed regulatory compliance and industry best practice as the top drivers for email encryption use. Respondents within the financial industry viewed regulatory compliance and risk avoidance as the top two drivers for email encryption.

With so much emphasis on regulatory compliance, it’s relatively easy for healthcare and financial organizations to understand the risks of unsecure email. Yet, the Ponemon study found, of those with an email encryption solution, only 11 percent of healthcare respondents were certain all messages that should be encrypted are encrypted. Only 17 percent of financial respondents were certain. These figures are drastically low and represent unnecessary risks that jeopardize regulatory compliance. Gain confidence, avoid email data loss and prevent regulatory risks by taking advantage of innovative, convenient email encryption solutions.

Next week in Part 5 of the Survey Blog Series, we’ll begin to wrap up our survey series by examining other top findings from the survey.