There are any number of ways that a well-provisioned hacker can gain access to your organization’s data or internal network. But personal email is noticeably recognized as one of the most likely entry points to otherwise secure corporate networks. Here are a few reasons why companies should reconsider allowing employees to check their personal email on corporate devices for the safety of the company as a whole.
Valuing Security Over Convenience
While most employees (and hiring managers too) find value in the convenience of being able to access personal email on their work computer or mobile phone, it does come with certain risks. Hackers can more easily phish passwords or send viruses through personal email accounts with less built-in security than the standard corporate account. They can cause real damage very quickly once they have access. Considering how risky using personal email on work devices can be, it’s a surprise that more companies don’t have policies against personal email.
According to a Computer Economics survey of IT organizations, only 17% of respondents say they block or monitor use of personal webmail within the corporate network. 7% of respondents said they had a policy against such use but do not actively block or monitor those actions. And the vast majority of respondents said they had no policy against this practice whatsoever.
Given that the practice is so widespread, it may only be a concern to victims of hacks or to IT professionals, but as more companies and corporate users become aware of the risks these trends are likely to shift. The key is to educate your team about the risks of accessing personal email accounts while on the corporate network. This will help spread the awareness of how they may be putting the security of the company at risk, and what alternatives are available to them as users.
Personal email is probably the most commonly used yet unauthorized application on corporate devices. This is a real problem because hackers know that such accounts are unmonitored and vulnerable, providing easy access to a corporate network. As explained above, personal emails are easy to access points for phishing and malware attacks, providing near direct access to corporate machines.
According to CISCO, 78% of employees accessed personal email from business computers. 63% of employees admit to using work computers for personal use every day, while 83% admit to doing so at least sometimes. 70% of IT professionals believe that it is this use of unauthorized programs that result in as much as half of the data loss incidents experienced by their companies. Personal email provides a very convenient entry point for unauthorized use. It can quickly lead to data loss, leaked industry secrets, and even private information of employees and customers.
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