Going to the Extremes: Banning Email

Going to the Extremes: Banning EmailSpear-phishing has been turning innocent employees into an organization’s greatest risk for years. As hackers get even smarter, they’re exploiting the weakest link: human error. By sending one cleverly crafted email to an unsuspecting employee, a hacker can breach your strongest security defenses and steal your company’s most treasured information.

What can you do about it? Solutions like application whitelisting are helpful, but here’s a more radical idea: killing email! A French IT company named Atos Origin has created a zero-email policy. Despite being a company of 74,000 employees, CEO Thierry Breton plans to eliminate internal email forever. He claims employees receive 200 emails a day and only 10% are useful and 18% are spam. Only 10%? Sounds pretty inefficient to me.

But trying to imagine a company with 42 global offices and no internal email has me puzzled. How is it possible? Well the good news is they’re not planning on reverting to pencils and paper airplanes… although maybe just a few for fun. Instead of email, they’ve picked a bunch of tools like instant messaging and social platforms, and their own Wiki to help communication flow between employees. Information will be stored digitally, which will keep it easy to access and update.

So why the big shift? Breton believes we’re creating information pollution that’s clouding both our work and personal lives. He drives this point home by saying that managers spend up to 20 hours a week reading and writing emails. And to add to that, they spend 25% of their time searching for info. Wow! How do they ever get anything done? Hmmm… sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

It’s hard to imagine my inbox disappearing entirely, but shrinking by even 20% sounds pretty darn good. Imagine the possibilities… maybe we could even give our thumbs a rest and learn to put our smart phones down… just for a minute. Ahh… wait. Gotta run – that’s my inbox buzzing again.

Samantha Shah

As a secret nerd, Samantha keeps close tabs on trends, threats, and headlines in IT security to keep you safe from the bad guys. She believes knowledge is power, so Samantha is always on the lookout for new ideas, tips, and best practices to challenge convention and inspire change.