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Firms Fret as Office E-Mail Jumps Security Walls

Posted in NEWS & UPDATES

From Brad Stone at the New York Times:

"SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 10 — Companies spend millions on systems to keep corporate e-mail safe. If only their employees were as paranoid.

A growing number of Internet-literate workers are forwarding their office e-mail to free Web-accessible personal accounts offered by Google, Yahoo and other companies. Their employers, who envision corporate secrets leaking through the back door of otherwise well-protected computer networks, are not pleased.

“It’s a hole you can drive an 18-wheeler through,” said Paul D. Myer, president of the security firm 8E6 Technologies in Orange, Calif.

It is a battle of best intentions: productivity and convenience pitted against security and more than a little anxiety.

Corporate techies — who, after all, are paid to worry — want strict control over internal company communications and fear that forwarding e-mail might expose proprietary secrets to prying eyes. Employees just want to get to their mail quickly, wherever they are, without leaping through too many security hoops.

Corporate networks, which typically have several layers of defenses against hackers, can require special software and multiple passwords for access. Some companies use systems that give employees a security code that changes every 60 seconds; this must be read from the display screen of a small card and typed quickly.

That is too much for some employees, especially when their computers can store the passwords for their Web-based mail, allowing them to get right down to business. "

Read the entire article here.