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3 min

Verify Before You Hit 'Send': A Guide To Safer Email Communications

Posted by Picture of Sam Kendall Sam Kendall

Email misfires, often a result of human error, can lead to substantial business data incidents, causing damage to an organisation's reputation and financial losses. This week, we look at the manual checks you should undertake before hitting 'send' to ensure your email reaches the right recipient and your communication stays secure.

Double Check Recipient Email Addresses

This might seem pretty basic, but it's one of the most common sources of misdirected emails.

Always take a few seconds to verify the email addresses in the 'To', 'Cc', and 'Bcc' fields, particularly when your email platform auto-fills these boxes. Watch out for similarly named contacts, which could easily result in information sent to the wrong recipient.

Autofill email addresses

Revisit The Subject Line

Craft your subject line carefully as it's the first thing your recipient sees and may also serve as a quick reference for future searches.

Avoid generic subject lines, especially for important emails. A specific subject line can help senders and recipients to spot if the email content matches its recipient. Here are some subject line guidelines:

  • Be Concise: Keep your subject lines succinct yet informative. An ideal email subject line is typically 5-7 words long. Avoid unnecessary jargon or complex words.
  • Use Keywords: Keywords can make it easier for recipients to search for your email in the future. Place the most important words at the beginning of the subject line to catch the recipient's attention.
  • Avoid Sensitive Information: If your email includes sensitive information, its contents should be secured. However, if you include that sensitive information in the subject line, it's open to be read by anyone who intercepts your message.

Review The Email Content

Make sure the content of your email aligns with the recipient and purpose.

Be cautious about including sensitive information unless it's absolutely necessary, and if you do, take extra steps to secure it.

When dealing with sensitive content, consider using a secure email solution or another method of secure file-sharing. This will provide an additional layer of protection in case the email ends up in the wrong inbox.

Subject line that isnt question

Check The Attachments

Attachments often contain sensitive data. Before attaching any files, make sure they are intended and are necessary for the communication.

If the information is sensitive, make sure attachments are secured with encryption and multi-factor authentication.

Remember to remove metadata from documents and images that may inadvertently reveal sensitive information about people and locations.

Removing Exif Data From Images

Validate The Address

For new or infrequently contacted email addresses, consider sending a introductory email without any important information first as a test to confirm the recipient's identity.

Alternatively, use an email verification tool to confirm that the email address is valid and active. Be aware, however, that these tools can never guarantee a 100% accurate result.

Validating an email address

Clarify Confidentiality

Is your email intended to be confidential?

If so, make sure to clearly indicate this in the body of your email and in the subject line if possible.

Additionally, consider adding a confidentiality disclaimer at the end of your email. You might secure the information in the email yourself, but if your recipient is not aware that they shouldn't share it, it could be leaked.

Confidentiality disclaimer on email

Use Secure Email

While the above checks can significantly mitigate the risk of misdirected emails, most are manual and still somewhat susceptible to human error.

Using a secure email solution allows you to automate these processes for sensitive messages by using built-in encryption, recipient authentication, and data loss prevention features.

This additional layer of security not only significantly reduces the chances of email misfires but also helps you maintain regulatory compliance, particularly crucial in sectors like finance, healthcare, and law.

Solutions like Mailock offer robust secure emailing that caters to professional communication needs.

Keep It Locked Down

Email communication is a vital cog in our professional interactions, and it is our responsibility to ensure its security and accuracy.

Implementing checks or leveraging secure email solutions can help you to drastically minimise email misfires and ensure safe and effective communication.

Deliver sensitive information securely with Mailock


Originally posted on 07 07 23
Last updated on March 14, 2024

Posted by: Sam Kendall

Sam Kendall is an expert researcher, editor, and marketing specialist. He has worked with B2B brands for almost a decade helping them to refine their digital strategy and streamline ground-level implementation. Sam is passionate about new developments in user experience, demand generation marketing, and customer communications.

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