How to prevent leakage of sensitive information in Outlook

You may not have even realized this. But there is a very high chance that you have leaked out confidential information before – not once, but many times. How does this happen? and How does Outlook help you protect yourself and prevent inadvertent leakage… read on to find out.

How does this happen?

Read this story:

Someone sends a mail with few people in your organization in TO and CC. Someone replies. Someone replies to the reply – over time a long mail trail gets generated.

Usually, the original subject may not even be relevant but nobody bothers to change it. The mail is floating around internally for a long time.

Suddenly, in the current context (which is different from the original subject) someone decides to include an outside person. At this stage, the new topic may be relevant to the external person.

But nobody realizes that the entire mail trail below was NEVER INTENDED for an outsider. Nobody reads through the entire mail trail before including another email id.

That is where the danger is. If the external person is smart, they can easily get lot of sensitive information by going through the mail trail. Of course you can use this trick to read all external mail trails as well Smile

But you would like to protect yourself – would you not?

Outlook helps you there. In a very smart way.

How does Outlook help here?

Of course, Outlook does not understand what is confidential. But it DOES understand the which email address belongs to your organization and which one is external.

So, if in a long internal mail trail, you add an external email address, Outlook will warn you. It will not show you a warning dialog, but it will show the warning just above the TO box. It is called a Mail Tip. While you are composing the mail, it appears automatically.

Unfortunately, many of us never notice it and expose ourselves to the risk.

Here is how the mail tip looks:

Mail tip to prevent inadvertent leakage of sensitive information

The blue addresses are internal. The black one is external. The tip on top warns you and also gives a one-click way to remove that external person.

Of course you have another choice… which may be more relevant in many cases. You must remove unwanted portions of the mail trail before sending the mail. That way you are getting the work done but are not exposed to the risk of revealing confidential information.

Simple and effective.


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