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Companies Fear Leakage of Secrets Through Personal E-Mail Accounts

Despite companies investing money and doing efforts to keep their corporate e-mail systems secured, there are possibilities of security breach by their own workers who send sensitive messages to personal accounts, cautioned security experts in U.S.

A New York Times report noted that an increasing number of Internet-savvy employees were transferring their office e-mails to personal accounts that are freely accessible on the Web through Internet giants - Goolge and Yahoo.

Such a practice could mean leaking of corporate confidential information from otherwise sufficiently protected computer networks. In the words of Paul Myers, president of 8E6 Technologies, a security firm in Orange, California, it is a security hole through which an 18-wheeler can pass. He was speaking to New York Times.

The best intentions are in a tussle. While the corporate technicians who are paid for keeping strict control over intra company communications want to maintain full secrecy of the organization's e-mails, they fear that forwarding e-mail this way to personal accounts could lay proprietary secrets in the hands of criminals. The tendency is that employees simply want to access their e-mails quickly at any place they are and without jumping through too many security loops. Although this kind of e-mail transmission has not yet caused any major company disaster, security experts warn the inherent risks in it. They added that the less tough security defenses for web mail systems could permit viruses or spyware to enter, and employees could unknowingly download them and infect the office network.

Moreover, as e-mails delivered from web-based accounts do not move through the company mail system, enterprises could be defying federal laws that instruct them to store corporate mail and declare them during litigation.

The web mail services may be vulnerable to certain unexpected malfunctioning. For e.g., in December 2006, sixty Google users discovered loss of stored e-mails from their Gmail accounts. After a week, Google admitted the presence of a security hole that could expose address books to Internet attack.

Perhaps, the most important thing for enterprises is trust. If there isn't enough of it on employees using services like Gmail, they are probably not fit to work for that company.

Related article: Companies Should Report Cybercrime

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