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Almost all businesses suffer email-related data breaches

(Image credit: Image Credit: Evannovostro / Shutterstock)

Outbound email is one of the most common causes of business data breaches, and with Covid-19 increasing email volumes substantially, the threat has escalated significantly.

This is according to a new report from security firm Egress, which claims that almost all businesses (93 percent) suffered a data breach via outbound email in the last 12 months.

The report, based on a poll of 538 IT security managers in the UK and US, asserts that an email data breach occurs every 12 working hours, based on a 254-day working year.

Further, the threat has only been made worse by the arrival of Covid-19 and the subsequent remote working boom. Almost all (94 percent) respondents reported email traffic rising and 70 percent believe remote working increases the risk of a data breach.

While spear-phishing, whereby criminals target particular individuals within a company, is the most popular method of attack (80 percent), other dangers are afoot. Emails sent to the wrong recipient and incorrect file attachments also result in a significant volume of breaches.

“This problem is only going to get worse with increased remote working and higher email volumes creating prime conditions for outbound email data breaches of a type that traditional DLP tools simply cannot handle,” said Tony Pepper, Egress CEO.

“Instead, organizations need intelligent technologies, like machine learning, to create a contextual understanding of individual users that spots errors such as wrong recipients, incorrect file attachments or responses to phishing emails, and alerts the user before they make a mistake.”