One slip-up can become a whopper. For example, a Palm Beach County, Fla., health department statistician and epidemiologist mistakenly attached a list containing more than 6,000 names of HIV/AIDS patients to an e-mail in 2005. The message was sent to 800 of the department's 900 employees.
It is so easy to hit send without giving any thought, and that is just the most likely innocent breach. Most people have web-based email accounts like Hotmail, GMail, or Yahoo Mail. Because these are web-based, it is nearly impossible to control what goes out via them. One alternative, of course, is to block access to these webmail providers, but there are so many and users are so clever at circumventing blocks and safeguards that it is almost impossible to make this bulletproof. Training is a solution, of course, but not a cure, because if your users are careless or malicious they will ignore you.