Email Security Blog

Outbound Mail Protection: Stopping Sensitive Data from Leaving Your Office

Disturbing thought of the day: An email data breach happens approximately every 12 working hours.1

When it comes to data loss prevention, there are three types of employees you don’t want working for you – The Distracted, The Disgruntled, The Job Hoppers. Why? Because any one of them could be releasing sensitive company data into the hands of the wrong people, putting your company at serious risk.

How Do Email Data Leaks Happen?

We’re all familiar with ransomware attacks. A hacker makes their way into your network, usually by way of a phishing email, and holds your company data hostage until you meet their demands. As awful as that sounds, what is possibly more worrisome is the thought of a data leak being initiated from inside of your office – either accidentally or intentionally.

Accidental Email Data Leaks

If you’ve ever been copied on an email that wasn’t meant for you, you know that some data breaches begin unintentionally. Considering most email platforms try to suggest or auto-populate names you’re typing, it’s easy for an unwitting employee to mistakenly copy the wrong person – such as an ex-vendor or former employee – who has the same first name as your CFO, thereby putting important information into the wrong hands. Accidentally.

Sadly, accidental outbound email fiascos happen a lot less frequently than those done intentionally.

Intentional Email Data Leaks

A study showed that 72% of employees who are leaving an organization admit to taking company data. Considering that, it’s no surprise the same study found that 70% of intellectual property theft occurs in the three months prior to an employee announcing they are leaving the company.2 Of course, another very intentional source of data loss is by way of cybercrime. Account takeovers, to be exact. When a cybercriminal compromises an email account, they have the ability to put their hands on all sorts of confidential company data that can easily be emailed to a phony account or outside source established as part of the crime.

Are You at Risk for Data Loss via Email?

If your company uses email, has employees, and houses valuable data, you could be at risk and in need of Outbound Mail Protection. To be sure, take a moment to consider the sensitive or valuable data that belongs to your company. Would it be useful to someone with bad intentions? Here is a list of some types of information that you could potentially lose without the right Outbound Mail Protection in place:

  • Clients’ financial information
  • Existing product specs, designs, or materials
  • Employee credentials and personal information
  • Active client or sales lists
  • Trade secrets, patents, and copyrights
  • Protected health information
  • Court records
  • Earnings reports and company financials
  • Upcoming corporate plans, acquisitions, or product launches
  • Regulatory information
  • High-risk data (protection required by law)

Changing the Game

Up until recently, the products marketed as Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions had limited functionality, at best. Some simply quarantine messages, others bounce them back as undeliverable, and a few block the messages entirely. If that’s not frustrating enough, traditional DLPs don’t work well on mobile devices and have even been known to use scanning protocols that violate established policies. That said, when INKY’s Outbound Mail Protection (OMP) became available – combining superior detection and approval processes - it was an immediate game-changer.

INKY has the ability to identify instances of sensitive data in messages, using a combination of detection modules. To do so, INKY cross-references multiple data points, including keywords and variable contextual clues, as well as different data types like tables, pdf attachments, jpg, and others. INKY also cross-references using pattern matching - an example of which might include searching for the term “credit card” and looking for a plausible credit card number in the same email. When scanning, INKY detects financial information, identification documents, medical information, and more.

The other piece of INKY’s OMP process involves an approval process that each client predetermines. Once a potential outbound email concern is found, INKY’s Email Assistant sends two notifications – one to the sender educating them their outbound email requires approval, and one to the approver notifying them a review is required. After that review is completed, the Email Assistant executes the decision and notifies the sender of the decision made by the approver.

Final Thoughts

For those considering Outbound Mail Protection (OMP) who are not already INKY customers, we would be remiss in not mentioning that INKY goes well beyond OMP. Billions of dollars are lost every year to phishing, malware, ransomware, and similar cyberattacks and INKY wants it stopped.3

INKY helps companies secure email using a cloud-based security platform that proactively and instantly scans inbound, internal, and outbound emails. The platform intelligently eliminates security threats by blocking malicious emails while INKY’s Email Assistant educates employees as it helps them to handle suspicious emails and make safer decisions. The INKY platform was designed for mobile-first IT organizations and works seamlessly on any device, operating system, and mail client.

If you’re ready to learn more about INKY’s capabilities, take a moment to schedule a free demonstration. We’d love to show you the difference we can make.

Schedule a demonstration.


INKY is an award-winning, cloud-based email security solution developed to proactively eliminate phishing emails and malware while simultaneously providing real-time assistance to employees handling suspicious emails so they can make safer decisions. INKY’s patented technology incorporates sophisticated computer vision, machine learning models, social profiling, and stylometry algorithms to effectively sanitize emails, rewrite malicious links, detect and block security threats, mitigate sender impersonation, and more. Cost-effective and powerful, the INKY platform was developed for mobile-first IT organizations and works seamlessly on any device, operating system, and mail client. Learn more about INKY™ or request an online demonstration today.