In a world where insider threat looms within our organizations and external threats increase in scale and complexity, we need the most sophisticated and cutting edge tools to turn the tide…right? Not exactly, while technology has increased in complexity the basic channels of communication have not changed all too much. The primary means of communication for organizations and people is…you guessed it: e-mail. So let’s highlight some of the critical reasons that email monitoring is still one of the most effective methods for keeping your organization safe.
The security reasons alone provide a strong case for monitoring employee emails. It is with email that sensitive information is exchanged every second within an organization. By not keeping track of this important channel of communication we run the risk of not being able to identify insider threats or data leaks to external parties. Additionally, we’re not able to tell when an employee has become victim of a phishing scheme or a successful social engineering attempt. That last point is crucial at this present moment in time, so much so that the FBI has released a memo for organizations on how they can prevent phishing, and reporting of suspicious activity was stressed as very critical. However it is tough given the pressures in the workplace for an employee to identify or even report suspicious activity. It is for this reason that email monitoring allows for automated detection of suspicious activity and content that your employees come across. This of course is accounting for the external threats, what can email monitoring do about insider threat?
Building on security, we need to discuss insider threats. When an employee becomes frustrated with a process, peers, a supervisor, or just the mission in general they can become an active threat. There are other people who are perfectly satisfied with the company but may just be negligent about security and expose the company to malicious actors. In either case, both situations are rooted in human behaviour not only technology. So some behavioral analysis is necessary to understand and identify insider threats. Email monitoring can be extremely useful in this situation to gain actionable insights. This goes beyond the basics such as storage space or spam. Email monitoring provides insights into the efficacy of current company processes, it can identify behavior norms and deviations, and it can even provide indication of when sensitive information has been shared, unapproved, outside the company. Imagine how the amount of trend and behavioral data you will have access to in order to mitigate or prevent insider threats and data leakages. One scenario here would be the disgruntled employee above was expressing in email his disappointment for the last three weeks with other employees about his supervisor. This behavior is outside of his norm so the email monitoring software sends a notification to management about this. They are able to approach the employee and understand the root of the issue gain more loyalty from the employee, reducing their exposure to insider threat.
To some, that dreaded word compliance, is here again. There are layers of policy that employees and organizations must interact with everyday to meet compliance. These policies can be internal or from government. Email Monitoring can provide insights to where and how employees and management are failing to meet compliance or outright ignoring it. One such case where email may help is in sexual harassment case if one employee is communicating very inappropriate things to another. If captured on email then the situation can be dealt with for violation of company policy, state, or federal laws, and demonstrates that the organization is active in meeting compliance thus reducing liability.
These are just a few ways in which email monitoring can help your organization. Email monitoring provides the ability to capture a lot of knowledge that often goes ignored and opens up opportunities to prevent disaster. Utilize an employee monitoring system in your company and gain valuable insights.
FBI. (2017). FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense with an Email Fortress — FBI. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices/portland/news/press-releases/fbi-tech-tuesday-building-a-digital-defense-with-an-email-fortress