Email disasters have been plentiful during my twenty plus years in the business of email management. For example the receptionist who sent an all user email saying the sandwich man was in reception. However she sent it on the back of a very sexy email from her lover. Then there was the time that Beckham complained about not receiving a Knighthood. I have also collected my own examples sent to me by clients.
One of the best of the worst was where X re-forwarded an email to Y. However, they had not checked the whole email trail because towards the end it contained some rather unpleasant things about Y.
It’s competition time. What is the worst email you have ever sent or received by accident? There will be a prize for the best response.
How well do you protect your on-line reputation to avoid an email disaster? The hacking of Ashley Madison website (the dating agency) provided some statutory lessons about how one’s reputation can be destroyed in a nano second. In a nutshell, this well known dating agency’s data was hacked. Details of about 33 million accounts were released including peoples sexual preferences and fantasies linked to their email address. They also cracked passwords and credit card information.
What made people and business’s more twitchy than usual was that names were associated with companies, because many were silly enough to use their business email address. Technology companies listed included Apple, HP, IBM Sony, Snapchat and Vodafone. Many others were Government officials and household business names.
As a result we have seen some people resigning from their jobs and at least one suicide.
This highly visible hack provides several very pertinent lessons both for us as individual users and corporately for the business. None are new. Perhaps the surprising fact is that so many people continued to forget to bolt the door securely on their on-line identity until it is too late.
Lesson 1 – never use your business email address for anything other than business unless it is an emergency. Use a personal email address for all social emails.
Lesson 2 – be very vigilant about what information you post on websites because In reality nothing is private on the internet. Several people paid to have their profile removed but it still turned up.
Lesson 3 – before hitting send and posting information think about the consequences to yourself should someone else find it, for example either through hacking or worse still close friend or partner.
Lesson 4 – set strong passwords. One survey revealed that over 120 people use simple ones like 123456. Click here for more about password management.
Lesson 5 – spend time developing a crisis management plan whether for your business or self in the event of such a disaster.
This won’t be the last high profile hack but hopefully some will take these five lesson seriously and especially use their business email address more cautiously to manage their own and their company image more carefully.
Call Mesmo Consultancy now to discuss how we have helped our clients to improve the management of their on-line reputation to avoid an email disaster like this and the Sony email disaster.
Reputational damage always follows a major cyber crime hack. It was only a matter of time before we saw the real fall out from the recent Sony hacking
offensive, in terms of the damage to personal reputations (and possibly still the business’s reputation). Today is the start, with Amy Pascal feeling she should resign. It has always been my view that Barclays Bank Libor emails cost the bank and its management team more in reputational damage than the actual fine. They slipped out of the top 100 most trusted companies. Had the press not found those damaging emails, they would not have been the focus of such media attention. After all many other banks were in a similar position.
An unprecedented hack as happened to Sony will be forgiven, but not the vitriolic emails which show the company management culture is such disarray.
The moral is of course to think, think and think again before hitting send. Ask yourself. ‘what if a hacker found this email’. If you really cannot manage your impulsive behaviour then the solution is slow email and set a rule to delay sending all your email by a few minutes to allow for cooling off.
How well are you managing to reduce the risk to you and your business becoming the stars of the next email-gate media disaster? Contact us now to hear how we have helped other organisations protect their professional image by more effective email management.
Email disaster happen time and time again. Over fifteen years of writing two books on email best practice and many articles, not surprisingly I have files full of email media disasters from the early stories of naughty Claire Swire emails to the more serious ones where Kirsty Walk asked her PA to hack into someone else’s inbox to retrieve some damaging emails.
When will we learn that no matter how hard we try to erase an email we wish we had never sent, someone will have a copy. Furthermore as we become increasingly litigiousness many organisation now archive all email traffic in and out of their servers. Two press stories prompted me to write again on this topic. First, there is the phone hacking trial in which copious evidence is email related. At one point the management team tried to destroy all old emails only to find not surprisingly that they had been archived by their mail provider.
Second, was the recent email trail between Ed Miliband and a senior aide which branded Ed Balls as a ‘nightmare’. This was a classic case of not only putting something stupid into an email but then compounding the felony by sending it to the wrong person!
What can we do to avoid such email scandals which seem to now occur regularly? Recall the email. No that doesn’t work as I now have it and am intrigued why you are recalling it.
Here are my top three tips:
Most people feel compelled to either reply instantly they receive a new email or fire off an email when feeling cross. This usually results in unnecessary emails chains which often spiral into email wars and drive up the email overload. There is a time and place for chatting and gossip but email is not that place.
Do you want to reduce the risk that someone in your organisation will make an email faux pass? Call us now and ask about how our Brilliant Email Management masterclass can help you and your organisation prevent such email disasters (which are often very expensive in terms of damage limitation PR and putting people on gardening leave).
Meanwhile, dare to share, what are your tips for avoiding an email disaster? Have you ever been subject such an email scandal?