Sent an email to the wrong person at work?

269 billion emails are sent daily.

Email has revolutionized the way we work, allowing for a more flexible way of working and near instant transfers of information. But with all the convenience that email brings, also come new risks. Once you've hit that send button, there is no way to stop your email from being sent. Once an email leaves your outbox, you lose all control over it. Every organization worldwide handles sensitive data every day - what do you do if you accidentally sent an email to the wrong person at work?

To help the situation:

1. Report the incident

Don't attempt to hide what happened, do not delete the email. Consequences of a misdirected email can be severe but by letting your line manager know what has happened can help ease any further issues. Along with the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the UK, it is now mandatory to report data breaches that contain PII to certain regulatory bodies. It is also important to alert anybody whose information was accidentally leaked and sent to the wrong person

2. Prevent further data loss

Contact the person you accidentally sent the email to and ask them to delete all sensitive information, and send an email back to confirm they have done this. This is to prevent data being leaked further and the situation going further out of control.

How frequent are misdirected emails?

Enterprises continue to hit the headlines in due to data breaches caused by misdirected emails.

In 2017/18, the data breaches most commonly reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) were those caused by human error. And among the 3325 data security incidents reported to the regulator that year, the most common cause was “data emailed to incorrect recipient”. These kinds of breaches can be hugely damaging to an organization, incurring heavy fines and reputational damage.

Employees mis-send a significant number of emails and regularly put sensitive data at risk. Simple mistakes can have huge consequences. A data breach that results in a regulatory fine, or perhaps even worse, severe reputational damage can have a relatively simple cause - an email sent in error.

How can I prevent this ever happening?

Tessian is building the world’s first Human Layer Security platform to fulfil our mission to keep the world’s most sensitive data and systems private and secure. Using stateful machine learning to analyze historical email data, Tessian’s Parallax Engine can predict for this user, at this point in time, does this email look like a security threat?

Book a demo to learn more about our email security platform.