Email to Surpass Traditional Confidential Communication
Email will be the default communications option for confidential mail by 2009 according to a survey of attendees at the Internet Service Providers Association’s (ISPA) annual Parliamentary Advisory Forum* on 16 January 2007 in London.. The event, which focused on Personal Internet Security, offered government bodies such as the DTI, parliamentarians as well as leading European service providers the opportunity to discuss how best to protect users online.
Fear of high-profile security scares (27 per cent), a lack of adequate security offerings from ISPs (24 per cent) and the inability to guarantee sender/recipient ID (33 per cent) were cited as today’s top three obstacles to mass user adoption of email for confidential communications. However, despite concerns around security, the 47 per cent of industry representatives in attendance expected email to surpass traditional forms of confidential communications (recorded mail, courier etc) by 2009. A further 27 per cent expected email to be the main means for confidential communication by 2012.
At the event almost half (47 per cent) of those questioned predicted that the ability to provide secure, encrypted email services for confidential documents and communications will become an essential component of an ISP’s portfolio. The respondents were confident that those unable to offer a solution would lose customers, with 73 per cent expecting users to move to a provider able to offer such services. 20 per cent of respondents reported already using some form of secure email every day to send private data.
Dave Martin, managing consultant at LogicaCMG, comments on the findings:
“Sending confidential documents and personal data is one of the greatest challenges facing Internet users today. While ISPs and government bodies are doing a good job of ensuring that users are educated and aware of the dangers of communicating online, there is room for service providers to do more. Secure, encrypted email services such as Secure Mail from LogicaCMG, powered by Echoworx allows users to avoid these risks while reducing the costs associated with sending confidential information via couriers or registered post.”
Internet crime is increasingly in the public eye with the UK payments association, APACS, recently reporting a surge in ‘phishing’ throughout the first half of 2006. In addition, UK banks reported a 55 per cent increase in losses from fraudulent online transactions for the first half of last year with losses attributed to ‘phishing’ scams totalling £22.5 million, up from £14.5 million in the first six months of 2005.
Participants in the survey at the ISPA’s Parliamentary Advisory Forum cited the financial sector as the primary potential user of this type of service, closely followed by the legal and corporate sectors.
Dave Martin concludes: “The vast majority of respondents (93 per cent) thought that both the financial and retail sectors should consider secure email solutions in order to combat the rise of ‘phishing’ threats. While no solution can claim to be 100 per cent effective, encrypted email which allows sender/recipient authentication offers a further layer of security when communicating personal or private information online, which will help to reduce the threat from ‘phishing’. “
*The survey questioned 30 senior level ISPA attendees taken from a sample of leading ISPs, government bodies and parliamentarians.