Slack it: Why emails are slow and insecure means of communication

Emails have been used for internal communications for decades. They’re simple, easy to access, and generally the default method of communication for professional environments. You may not even think about the possibility of an alternate communication method, but you might want to reconsider, as emailing has many negatives that affect business in more ways than you might know.

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Security: The biggest reason is security. Security, especially after the advent of GDPR, is massively to all businesses, whether you handle a lot of sensitive data, or the only data you process is employee related. Either way, all companies brush up against the rules of GDPR in some way or another. This renewed focus on security means companies are more focused on keeping their communications safe from outside eyes, and yet may not realise how insecure emails are. Firstly, emails are not encrypted. This means that anyone on a network, or anyone that can access network equipment can ‘eavesdrop’ on communications. Even if your emails servers are encrypted, it is not peer to peer, and therefore still not completely secure. Security isn’t just important for the safety of your customer’s, or your business’ information, it’s also important to safeguard your employee’s information, especially in compliance with GDPR. Viruses from bad actors are also easier to slip into emails and attack servers, rather than secure communications applications, as we saw with the NHS attack only 5 years ago.

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Speed: Emails themselves are not necessarily slow. Sending and receiving an email is fast, simple and easy; however, that does not translate to communication speed. Emails are typically more formal, with signing in the intro and outro of each message. They have longer bodies, usually with more formal language adding to the word count, and ultimately slowing down vital communication. With emails, the process for sending a message is slower and feels more deliberate. You cannot just open a chat, reply quickly to a message in a concise way, and go back to work. You must open the email in your inbox, read the (likely long) paragraph, click the reply button, enter a subject, intro, reply, outro and send. It is a convoluted and unnecessary process that saps up time. Not to mention that being able to send quick pictures, attachments and messages all in one go, whilst keeping the chat app open next to you, is far more convenient than staring at a full inbox of unread messages.

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Small things: There are lots of small features in chat apps that are unavailable when using emails, such as replying to specific questions in a group or one-to-one chat, giving quick feedback to specific problems. And reaching people not currently at their desk. Internal communications applications are great for reaching people anywhere, as they’re much easier to manage on a phone than a large unread inbox.

Security is easily the biggest reason you should move away from emails, but there are many benefits to doing so. You will ease internal communication between employees, ensure all their and your data is protected, and speed up the workflow when no one is spending time signing off emails. We know it isn’t always an easy thing to move, email infrastructures have been in place for years, but that is part of the problem. Emails have been around for so many decades that they have become outdated, an unfit communications method for a world that is only getting faster and faster. Perhaps it’s time to put the mail in the bin?

References:

https://staffbase.com/blog/email-for-internal-communication/

https://www.jdfoxmicro.com/resource-center/articles/email-is-insecure/