Secure messaging aside, why Hillary Clinton isn’t that different from us

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Back in 2012, this photo of Hillary Clinton (apparently) texting on her smartphone took the Internet by storm, and “Texts from Hillary” joined the ever growing pantheon of Internet “memes”. The thought of potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton texting and emailing on her smartphone just like the rest of us humanized one of the most powerful women in the world. This week however reports have emerged indicating Mrs Clinton had been using personal email for business purposes during her time in government and didn’t actually have an official government email address.

Put aside the political ramifications of this news and imagine yourself in the shoes of government IT staff trying to enforce a precedent for employees on proper usage of technology…One of the most influential people in your organization is having business conversations using an unsecure, consumer-grade mailbox with no archiving or retention capabilities.

If Hillary Clinton wasn’t adhering to best practices then how can we expect compliance from everyone else?

We humans are creatures of habit and trying to bring new employees in-line with communication protocols or migrating employees from one email system to another opens up compliance and continuity issues. How can businesses be sure that messages are not being intercepted or that mailboxes are not being compromised? What can be done to retract or revoke access to sensitive information in the event of a breach?

Perhaps Hillary was simply trying to avoid the government IT department’s “red tape” or maybe she preferred the familiarity of her personal email or maybe it was the user interface, mobile apps or support for plugins. Regardless of the reason, she had a need that was not met through her employer’s email platform: in this case, the U.S. government.

Today businesses can purchase a basic mailbox through Microsoft Office 365 for a monthly fee that is less than a deli sandwich. Many organizations see this solution more than sufficient to suit their needs. In reality, however, it is the thriving ecosystem of third-party services which leverage the latest in cloud technology – like Cirius – that help business thrive and keep employees from turning to Shadow IT (or unauthorized use of technology within an organization) to meet their needs.

The good news is that the new generation of secure messaging apps are affordable and easy to use. All sizes and types of businesses can take advantage of these tools, which not only deliver security, but also provide many other value-added benefits such as rapid large file sharing and the ability to see and control what happens to messages even after they have been sent.

Hillary Clinton may someday be the first female president of the United States and that alone makes her different than the rest of us. However, if we put aside for a moment her security issues and (likely frustrated) IT staff, isn’t it nice to know she’s not all that different from you and I? She just wants tools and technology that make communicating quicker and easier.

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