Data Loss Prevention: Learning From The Basingstoke Council Secure Email Blunder


Many people take steps to protect themselves from identity theft such as shredding bank statements and never providing personal details over email. While every precaution that is taken helps, these steps mean nothing when the organization holding your data is careless with distributing it.

The recent Basingstoke Council blunder is a stark reminder of what can go wrong when organizations do not take steps to ensure that sensitive information is not mistakenly and irrevocably delivered via email. In response to a Freedom of Information request to the council via email, a spreadsheet was accidentally emailed containing the names, ages, national insurance numbers and addresses of 1,900 individuals. The council attempted to contact the requestor but was unable to do so.

Cirius data loss prevention (DLP) automatically scan emails for content such as national insurance numbers or addresses, and even attachment types before preventing them from leaving the mail environment. With Cirius, SMEs also receive other enhanced security features such as true message recall that works even after a message has been read, the ability to prevent messages from being forwarded, or even optional For Your Eyes Only (F.Y.E.O.) which offers additional protection for sensitive data.

The best news for UK SMEs is that unlike the large majority of DLP solutions, Cirius DLP is a true cloud solution that deploys in minutes without any hardware to install or IT administration needed. It can wrap around any email platform and even allows for the public to respond and send files back over the same secure connection.

In response to the breach, the Basingstoke Council has sent letters of apology to the 1,900 people, informed the police and Information Commissioner, set up a helpline and offered to pay to monitor loans taken out in the name of the affected people. That’s an expensive mistake which was 100% preventable.

Employees inevitably make mistakes. Its your job to protect your business by using a solution that can stop those mistakes before it hits your wallet. Sign up for a free trial here to get started.

image source: Flickr