Clinton’s Email Mistake: A Lesson for Businesses
As technology develops, more cyber risks become inherent to businesses. In the wake of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s indiscretion and mishandling of confidential communications over her personal and business email accounts, this issue of email security has been publicly magnified. To properly protect your client’s information, a Privacy and Network Security Program is critical.
While most business owners assume that mixing personal and business accounts is a time saving tactic, Philippe Weiss of Seyfarth Shaw at Work disagrees. The issue today arises “partly because it has become such a natural implication to simply veer back and forth between personal and business email for many of us, but that only makes it more risky,” he stated to Inside Counsel. Mixing these two accounts can lead to harassment suits, insider trading, and fraud lawsuits, among many more.
For example, Weiss emphasized “We have seen compliance issues arise when confidential information meant to stay inside a company is inadvertently forwarded outside (perhaps as an overlooked attachment or small note at the bottom of a stream).”
What’s more, personal accounts that are used for business communications are subjected to court ordered investigation, which could expose more than just business related records. Further, in the event a lawyer is required to mitigate the issue, attorney-client privilege can be compromised with the mixture of these accounts.
In order to safeguard businesses against this risk, Weiss recommends a clear electronic communications policy language that stresses limited personal use; especially one that clarifies the company’s right to monitor systems, consistently applies email retention policies, and notifies employees of the company’s right to access employee emails during internal investigations.
Although Clinton’s mishap is causing her political turmoil, businesses and individuals alike can learn from her faux—pas. Separating personal and business emails in the workplace should be first priority for employees.
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