Many potential killers have come and gone. First, there was text messaging. Then, Slack. Then, Microsoft Teams. And on and on and on. As it turns out, though, despite the constant guesses at email’s demise, it’s far more difficult to kill than Clue’s Mr. Boddy.
Anyone working at a university knows this to be true. In fact, with the constantly expanding proliferation of mobile technology, increased communication through it, and email’s ease of use on it, the technology seems to be becoming only more powerful. Recent research from The Radicati Group even estimated that the number of sent and received daily emails would surpass 333 billion by the end of 2022 — up from 52 billion in 2018.
This also means danger.
Because while email use may be increasing, related security measures may not be. This puts higher education institutions in a precarious position. Why? In the last decade, per CDNetworks, no industry has experienced more cyber attacks than higher education — with 539 breaches affecting around 13 million records.
The Free Body Problem
Do you know the greatest danger to keeping email data safe today? It’s not the bad guys.
While hackers are undoubtedly a threat, it’s actually employees themselves who often build shortcuts and workarounds to data security and regulatory compliance practices — and open the door for irreparable damage. It may feel like simplifying to them at the time, but it’s actually poking holes in protection.
Don’t go blowing up the university listserv yet, though, because this isn’t necessarily or entirely the fault of the users. The reason it happens is usually because IT security solutions are simply too hard to use, adding too many user-side steps and hurdles to the process. As a result, people don’t use email security solutions consistently, regardless of potential consequences, which can be stark. Data breach costs rose from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2020, the highest average total cost in the 17-year history of the IBM Cost of a Data Breach Report.
Put simply, the shortcomings are common, and the risks are greater than ever. Universities need to find a way to protect private employee and student information, and automated one-click compliance may be the way forward.
The Ways of One-Click Compliance
Email security solutions can be extremely effective at keeping data safe. They just need to be easier to use — and minimize the effort required by employees in the process. For instance, if you’re looking to upgrade your email security, ensuring the technology has artificial intelligence (AI) and optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities is a good first step. In a good solution, AI and OCR can work together to learn and identify which types of data are compliant to federal and state regulations, and which aren’t.
Take FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 obviously holds great relevance for those working in higher education settings, requiring the privacy of student educational records at primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, vocational colleges, and state and local educational agencies that receive funding under any program administered by the U.S. Department of Education. An automated one-click compliance tool can easily enable users to screen emails and ensure they comply with any and all regulatory compliance guidelines (which could also include those like HIPAA, CCPA, GDPR and more, when applicable). Leading solutions will essentially filter and scan users’ emails, automatically encrypting outgoing messages that include sensitive data. One click on the relevant regulations — and users can be safely on their way.
The Whys of One-Click Compliance
The benefits of such a “set it and forget it”-type solution may seem obvious. In some ways, it’s about better security — period. But there’s more to it than that, too. An automated one-click compliance solution can offer administrators at higher education institutions a number of useful benefits that trickle down in various ways.
What are some examples? Start here:
Less Human Error and Lower Risk: As alluded to earlier, risk reduction is a key factor as well. The less you’re susceptible, the less danger you’re in. The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report says miscellaneous human errors are the root cause of about 20 percent of all data breaches — essentially equivalent to breaches via system intrusion. Automated one-click compliance, at its core, takes a great deal of pressure off employees and users in the day-to-day.
Reduced Need for Compliance Training: One-click capabilities mean employees won’t have to be as educated on the ins and outs of email security in order to succeed. What needs to be encrypted? How have regulations changed? The solution should manage these questions on its own. By continuously learning and working in the background, it can easily scan each message, secure sensitive materials and keep the line moving. This means no judgment calls for workers, and no extra effort.
Increased Adoption: Many email solutions require a cumbersome authentication process with constant accessing of portals and re-entering of credentials necessary just to send or read encrypted email. That’s not the case with automated one-click compliance, and once employees see how straightforward the approach is, the more they’ll use it. And greater adoption is, well, greater for everyone.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Trust takes a lifetime to build, but only a moment to destroy.” Many employers have resigned themselves to unending problems with email encryption and security, leading to minimal employee trust in potential solutions. However, intuitive automated one-click compliance solutions make things easier for employees, enabling real people to send safe and secure email — and building trust and loyalty that last.
Can automated one-click compliance help the future of your campus communications?
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