Tuesday, January 24, 2012


E-mail users in Kenya are increasing daily. In many local organizations, MS Outlook is the dominant corporate email which is used by thousands of office workers. Sending an email to one recipient requires you insert the recipient’s email address and click on send. When you want to send the same email to many recipients you click on the cc: button and insert multiple email addresses.

Cc: stands for carbon copy. In the pre-computer/photocopier days, creating multiple copies of the same letter was achieved by using carbon papers. Before typing the letter, carbon papers were interspersed with plain white paper. Copies were created below the originally typed letter and thus the term carbon copy.

Leaking sensitive and secret information has never being easier in this digital age. Any organization that tries to safeguard corporate data from being unlawfully accessed by unauthorized people must contend with the cc: loophole.

Internal emails that have inadvertently gone awry are a good example of how secret information leaks out. We all dread that cc: goof. A successful salesman had a huge e-mail address book filled with his loyal customers, including prominent government contacts. With a single click, he accidentally sent a file of his favorite pornographic cartoons and jokes to everyone on his e-mail list. His subject: ‘Special deals for my best customers!’ Obviously he was looking for a different job thereafter.

Embarrassments can result after these mistakes. However when medical records or intelligence reports are inadvertently sent out the security breach causes untold damage.

Basic safeguards should be adhered to. The first rule of thumb should be to always check the To and CC fields before you click on send.

The second rule is the carpenter’s rule which states that you measure twice and cut once. This means you think twice before sending the email once. In other words, put that message aside and let your temper cool before sending that e-mail.

Another safety rule concerning carbon copy emails is the draft folder. Handle it with extreme caution. Sending an e-mail in progress by accident is very easy. When trying to change the status of that draft email or transferring it to the inbox, you can find yourself cringing after accidentally sending it.

Finally don’t make joke or comments via e-mail that you wouldn’t make in person. If you can’t say it aloud then don’t put it down. When in doubt click on the Cancel button instead of the Send.

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