Disappearing Email and Security Nets in the Gmail Early Adopter Program

Google, one of the Top 10 in Reuter Thomson’s Global Technology Leaders of 2018 is innovative and as expected, answered the call for better control over security issues post-Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal. But is the much-hyped disappearing email really new? To be honest, this feature which some quarters hailed as millennial makeover is interesting but not original. Apart from being around in Outlook, Snapchat and Android for years, disappearing email was something that was possible in Google itself circa 2012. Google did a Houdini here since this DIY version is no longer possible with a past revamp of the “tool” in Google Docs. Currently, the script in “tools” is abbreviated and is not as easily changed as in the following video:

Currently, Gmail has around 1.4 Billion users and some of them could be enjoying the benefits of confidential mail if we are to believe Google’s announcement last April 25. This option prevents recipients from copying, forwarding, and downloading mail that has been sent – something that will eventually be circumvented by the unscrupulous but a welcome change nonetheless. It gives you leverage over how long you want the message to remain in the recipient’s Inbox before disappearing into thin air or becoming inaccessible. In addition, passwords (SMS and non-SMS)  can be enabled for individual mail.

The implications are alarming as it could be a two-way sword. If you are at the receiving end, there would be no proof to show and information can’t be readily referenced. A question of ethics arises because when mail is sent, who owns it – the sender or the receiver? At present, the confidential mode does not yet acknowledge this shared ownership, but in the future, can we expect Gmail to inform recipients that the message will disappear and ask their consent?

Google just gave Gmail a huge makeover — here is what’s new from CNBC.

The new Gmail also comes with two-factor authentication and better phishing safeguards. A most useful feature is the “Task Integration” feature which enables smoother workflow and better productivity (all to-dos in one place); something extremely utilitarian especially for business or enterprise clients who tend to use other apps like Trello, Asana or Basecamp for better project management.

Don’t get too excited about taking it for a spin as it’s not yet available for everyone. Google does promise a global rollout soon but Administrators of G-Suite for businesses or schools can already opt-in and activate the changes from the Admin Console.

“Instead of getting a notification every time a new email hits your inbox, you can now tell your Gmail app to ping you only for the most important 3 percent of your incoming messages.” — CNBC

The new Gmail is a boon for consumers worried about the sanctity of data and how their private information is being used. It will also work smarter, giving you the option to prioritize emails – plus getting Smart Replies on your desktop. On May 8, there will be a Google’s I/O developer conference  (as the heels of F8) so we can expect more interesting revelations. Though the changes are belated, the new Gmail has cool options worth trying out.

How to Keep Your Data Secure in 2015

Last year was the worst on record for data breaches globally and there are not many signs that indicate 2015 is going to be a better year for data security.

To help those tasked with protecting sensitive data, Ground Labs has published a summary of the major data breaches in 2014, along with separate guidance on the immediate steps businesses can take to avoid becoming a data breach statistic of 2015.

The summary titled “2014 the Year of the Data Breach? Buckle up for 2015!” briefly covers the four biggest data breach stories of 2014, and provides insights into why 2015 is going to see an increase in data security challenges.

While technology continues to evolve, hackers are also becoming more sophisticated–they are constantly on the hunt for new vulnerabilities to exploit and means by which to steal sensitive personal data that can be monetized on the black market. Ground Labs also warns that new technologies also present new risks that may come at the cost of our own privacy.

The supporting guidance for businesses titled “3 New Year resolutions for Security You Can Actually Keep” is a list of quick and easy fixes readers may take to help them on their path to being more secure.

Hackers are often able to bypass multi-million dollar security systems by abusing simple exploits such as weak passwords or unpatched software, and Ground Labs reminds businesses that while reaching a state of high security can require a sizeable investment, laying the solid foundation for good data security is relatively simple. Any size company, even those with large security teams, will also benefit from re-focusing on basic security approaches recommended within the published guidance.

“Many of the attacks used to steal sensitive data are not sophisticated and prey on simple weaknesses that can be easily solved without excessive time or cost,” said Stephen Cavey, the Director of Corporate Development for Ground Labs. “We have issued this guidance set for time-poor businesses and IT staff who can benefit from some quick-wins to improve security and protect their sensitive data, before adopting more advanced and complex defense methods.”

This latest guidance builds on Ground Labs repository of practical business advice for improving data security that can be found atwww.groundlabs.com/blog.

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