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Industry-First Product: Tessian Now Prevents Misattached Files on Email

  • By Harry Wetherald
  • 11 February 2021

Tessian’s mission is to secure the human layer by empowering people to do their best work, without security getting in their way.

Misdirected emails – emails sent to the wrong person – are the number one security incident reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office. And, according to Tessian platform data, an average of 480 misdirected emails are sent every year in organizations with over 1,000 employees. 

An unsolved problem

We solved this years ago with Tessian Guardian, our solution for accidental data loss.

But sending an email to the wrong person is just one part of the problem. What about sending the wrong attachment? After all, our data shows that 1 in 5 external emails contain an attachment and new Tessian research reveals that nearly half (48%) of employees have attached the wrong file to an email.

We call these “misattached files” and we’re happy to announce a new, industry-first feature that prevents them from being sent. 

The consequences of attaching the wrong file

The consequences of a misattached file depend on what information is contained in the attachments. 

According to Tessian’s survey results, 42% of documents sent in error contained company research and data. More worryingly, nearly two-fifths (39%) contained security information like passwords and passcodes, and another 38% contained financial information and client information. 

36% of mistakenly attached documents contained employee data. 

Any one of the above mistakes could result in lost customer data and IP, reputational damage, fines for non-compliance, and customer churn. In fact, one-third of respondents said their company lost a customer or client following this case of human error, and a further 31% said their company faced legal action. 

Until now, there weren’t any email security tools that could consistently identify when wrong files were being shared. This meant attachment mistakes went undetected…until there were serious consequences. 

How does Tessian detect misattached files?

The latest upgrade to Tessian Guardian leverages historical learning to understand whether an employee is attaching the correct file or not.

When an email is being sent, Guardian’s machine learning (ML) algorithm uses deep content inspection, natural language processing (NLP), and heuristics to detect attachment anomalies such as:

  • Counterparty anomalies: The attachment is related to a company that isn’t typically discussed with the recipients. For example, attaching the wrong invoice.
  • Name anomalies: The attachment is related to an individual who isn’t typically  discussed with the recipients. For example, attaching the wrong individual’s legal case files.
  • Context anomalies: The attachment looks unusual based on the email context. For example, attaching financial-model.xlsx to an email about a “dinner reservation.”
  • File type anomalies: The attachment file type hasn’t previously been shared with the receiving organization. For example, sending an .xlsx file to a press agency.
This is an example of a warning message an employee would see once Tessian Guardian has detected an attachment anomaly.

If a misattached file is detected, the sender is immediately alerted to the error before the email is sent. Best of all, the warnings are helpful, not annoying and flag rates are low. This means employees can do their jobs without security getting in the way. 

Want to learn more about how Tessian detects attachment anomalies before they’re sent? Download the data sheet.

“Until now, it’s been impossible to solve for data loss caused by attachment errors. We are giving people, and their employers peace of mind that the data they control won’t end up in the wrong hands. Given that most misattached files go undetected, we’re also providing companies greater visibility into a largely invisible problem. You can’t protect what you can’t see.”
Ed Bishop Chief Technology Officer and co-founder at Tessian

Benefits for Tessian customers

Tessian is the only solution in the market that can solve the problem of misattached files, giving customers complete protection from accidental data loss on email

In addition to preventing human error and subsequent breaches, Tessian Guardian has several features that help ease the burden of compliance on thinly-stretched security teams and give key key stakeholders peace of mind. These include:

Automated protection: Tessian Guardian automatically detects and prevents misattached files. No rules or manual investigation required.  

Flexible configuration options: With this new feature, customers will be able to configure Guardian’s algorithm to enable and/or disable specific use-cases. This allows administrators to balance user experience with the level of protection appropriate to their risk appetite.

Data-rich dashboards: For the first time, customers will have visibility of how many misattached files are being sent in their organization and by whom. This demonstrates clear ROI and makes auditing and reporting easy. 

This is an administrator's view of the portal, where customers can clearly see trends over time and incidents prevented.

Learn more about Tessian

Interested in learning more about Tessian Guardian’s new features? Current Tessian customers can get in touch with your Customer Success Manager.

Not yet a Tessian customer? Learn more about our technology, explore our customer stories, or book a demo now.

Harry Wetherald
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