Emails - what can you do about them?

By DT Information Governance Ltd

26 Apr 2024

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If you read the news, social media or even the Information Commissioner’s website (decision notices and reprimands!), emails seem to be the cause of quite a few incidents and data breaches.

They can generate a lot of data to search when dealing with requests and they can take up extra storage space.

Having emails in different email accounts or in a mixture of personal and business email accounts can lead to confusion or missed opportunities.

Fewer emails retained in your email system will help improve efficiency and reduce costs for storage and backups (no matter how minimal this cost is).

What can we do about them?

Here are some email tips to help.

  1. Don’t use personal email accounts for your business. Avoid the confusion and keep work and private life, well emails at least, separate. It also helps with security. Your work email may have more security than a personal one in one of the common free email services.
  2. Remember, work emails are not generally private, especially if working for a company or organisation with other employees. Think about how you write an email. It may have to be disclosed to someone or be viewed by others in the future.
  3. Clear out or delete email addresses from the autofill on a regular basis. Start typing a name on an email and click the little X or delete symbol. This won’t stop this problem but it may reduce the risk of sending emails to the wrong email address.
  4. If you can, share a link to a document or file rather than sending the actual document. This will reduce duplicate copies being stored and questions about “which is the latest version”.
  5. Email chains – if you are replying, do you need to reply with all the previous emails in the ‘chain’. When you create the reply, can you delete some of the older replies from the end of the email? This also applies to the tiny font messages that are seen on signature blocks. How many times do you need to have everyone’s “If you are not the intended recipient… or this email has been virus checked“ in the reply.
  6. Delete emails regularly. Do you really need to keep all the emails you receive? If you can’t delete, then can the email be moved to a filing system of some sort? This may be individual folders for the subject, a collaboration folder on Teams, SharePoint or Google Drive. Can the email be moved into an electronic software system record?
  7. Follow the two-second rule before sending. Stop, check the email and the words before clicking on send. Are you sending a reply in haste or ‘anger’? Stop and think. Is that reply necessary or can it be worded differently?
  8. If you have to send sensitive information by email, can you encrypt the email? Is it password protected (always send the password by a different means such as text). Is there an alternative to sending the information by email? Do you have a secure area or online service that the recipient can log into?

There will be a lot of other tips and techniques you can use to reduce the risks from email. These are just a few.

Get in touch with Debbie at DT Information Governance if you would like advice and support on email management.

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