Almost Four-In-Ten Data Breaches Are Caused By Stressed, Tired Employees

Egress’ recent Outbound Email Security Report has revealed that stressed, tired employees are behind almost four in ten of the most severe data breach incidents. As stress levels rise, rushed employees are more likely to make simple mistakes such as sending an email to the wrong person, or attaching the wrong file.

With remote workers facing distractions from childcare to delivery drivers ringing the doorbell, employees are likely to make simple mistakes such as sending an email to the wrong person, possibly exposing sensitive data. In fact, Egress’ research found that 80% of organisations have had sensitive data put at risk because of an employee sending an email to the wrong person, highlighting the scale of the problem.

Remote working  & surging email volumes increasing the risk

  • Due to the pandemic, 93% of businesses have reported an increase in outbound emails, with one-in-two IT leaders reporting an increase of over 50%.
  • With this surge in email activity looking set to continue as new restrictions mean many will be working remotely for longer, the surface area for risk of an outbound email data breach is growing. The research revealed that 35% of severe incidents over the last 12 months were caused by remote working.  
  • Data breaches as a result of outbound email are often overlooked and underreported, meaning businesses and people aren’t aware of the true scale of the problem. In fact, the ICO recently reported misdirected emails are the #1 cause of categorised incidents reported, and responsible for 44% more incidents than phishing attacks.
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Tony Pepper
Tony Pepper , CEO
InfoSec Expert
November 11, 2020 10:39 am

Many employees are experiencing heightened stress due to the pandemic and the uncertainty it’s created. They’re also trying to get through their working day, while dealing with various distractions, from keeping the kids entertained or focused on schoolwork, to answering the door for deliveries.

Remote working has further blurred the lines between our work and home lives, with research showing that work-life balance is suffering as a result. The pandemic, and the resulting move to remote working, has meant that many employees are stressed and tired, meaning that mistakes are more likely to happen. Every employee has access to email, meaning that every employee can potentially cause an inadvertent insider data breach. That risk is amplified by the stress and fatigue employees are currently dealing with. It’s up to organisations to ensure that they have the right tools in place to prevent these incidents before they can happen.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Pepper
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