Risk associated with outbound email spurs corporate monitoring

Sixty-three percent of companies with 1,000 or more employees use or plan to use staff to read outgoing email, according to a survey by email security supplier Proofpoint.

More than a third of those companies employ staff to monitor email while 26.5 percent plan to do so in the future. Smaller companies are monitoring outbound email at the same rate, the survey showed.

The results reflect companies' growing concern about leakage of sensitive data such as trade secrets through email, Proofpoint executives said. Compliance with corporate email policies, and financial disclosure regulations also are driving the monitoring trend.

Respondents to the survey of 332 executives at U.S. companies estimated that nearly one in four outbound emails contains content that poses a legal, financial, or regulatory risk to their organizations.

The survey also revealed that more than one in three businesses investigated a suspected leak of confidential information in the last year. Twenty-seven percent had fired an employee for violating email policies in the last 12 months while about 50 percent had disciplined an employee for violating email policies.

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