The Problem with Doing Business by Email

I’m amazed at how relevant email is with so many alternatives available. Doing business by email is still the status quo. This is true even when exchanging highly personal and sensitive information. Better and safer options are available. Why don’t we use them?

Email took root in the workplace over 30+ years ago. It quickly became a default way to do business. Yet decades later, email is still the “go-to” solution. This has become more apparent with the pandemic.

In some cases, the suddenness of the pandemic required employees to work from home overnight. Employees relied heavily on email when proper information infrastructures weren’t in place. Even when email wasn’t a good fit. For example, people use email attachments to work collaboratively. Or using email to send sensitive information.

Working Collaboratively with Email

Working collaboratively on documents through email attachments has never been a good solution. Multiple people editing an attachment means multiple versions will be created. Changes are made without seeing what others modified, resulting in duplication of effort. Even worse, someone must compile all the changes. Nobody wants to do all that tedious copying and pasting.

Consequently, changes may be missed, or worked on unnecessarily. The process is cumbersome and more prone to errors.

Assigning an editing order is a quick way to resolve some of these challenges. Ultimately, the best solution is investing in software that allows editing the document from one place. This eliminates the need for compiling changes. Also, people can see edits in real time.

Alternatives to Email for Sensitive Information

I can’t understand why so many businesses still receive personal and sensitive information through email. It’s 2020! The alternatives offered are even worse. Usually they include things like faxing or delivering paper copies. So many great high tech options exist. I’m astounded that email is still the first option.

Email is a poor way to share personal or sensitive information. The method may seem secure because the sender can control who is receiving it. Email seems safe and private. However, once sent, there’s no way to track where the information ends up.

The attachment could be forwarded. Or downloaded and saved on a public computer. Or saved in multiple locations or devices. Tracking all these “copies” becomes problematic.

Investing in a portal is one solution. This allows clients to seamlessly upload sensitive documents directly. No messy attachments. No unnecessary copies made.

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