Is sharing emails risky?

Is sharing emails risky?

10 years ago, we discovered that our business had been slowly becoming more secretive.

10 years before that, we stored customer records in filing cabinets that everyone could access.

But as we became paperless, we noticed that documents were disappearing into personal email accounts. If a key staff member was not at work, it was next to impossible to find out what was going on. As well as losing us orders, it  sometimes infuriated the customer and we lost the customer too.

Sharing emails is efficient

Then, we decided that it made sense to share communications with outside parties. Sure, sharing emails that were confidential or personal may be risky. However we knew that if we could keep those emails from being shared, we would become a lot more efficient.

That was the birth of Threads. 

But although we quickly saw the benefit of sharing emails, it was much more difficult to convince potential customers. Users had got so used to secrecy by default, they worried about the dangers of sharing their messages with other staff. But those companies that embraced it quickly saw the benefits.

Removing barriers to adoption

The first step to gaining user acceptance is to let them keep their working practices. 

No employee wants to be told to stop using their favourite application for a benefit they cannot yet see.  So we knew that for the single most important messaging medium, email, must remain unchanged. Be it MS exchange on a PC, AppleMail on a Mac, it must not be messed with.

This proved to be a big win against the “shared inbox” solutions dependent upon everyone in the team using the same email software.

Automating data entry and archiving

If you are not going to mess with a user’s email application, then you have to store your shared email somewhere. The Cloud is undoubtedly the best place for it.  

This gives an immediate payback because no longer are user’s worried about accidentally deleting emails or their email server going down. The Cloud keeps a totally up-to-date copy.

But none of that affects the risk of sharing personal email inadvertently. But it turns out that the solution – a  self-learning, address book – provides a another spin-off. No longer does anyone need to be tasked with the duty of keeping the company address book up to date. It happens automatically.

Avoiding embarrassing mistakes

How about privacy though. With Threads, every email that is captured is assumed to be personal. As soon as an employee reads the email, they can  decide whether or not to share it – simply by informing Threads.

There is, of course,  a risk that employees having affairs with clients can make mistakes and get embarrassed. However that happens in any mail system and it’s a small price to pay for the improved efficiency. In practice, it is no more risky than when the customer files were shared in filing cabinets – but the benefits are enormous. 

For example, browsing messages by company, employees can get an immediate overview of all the interaction between specific clients. If an employee is sick, busy or left the company, their messages do not sit hidden away on some disk.

So yes, there is always some risk in sharing your emails but it is more in the mind that in practice. One day, everyone will share their email