Microsoft Outlook is the go-to email application for employees around the world. It is where many employees spend a large amount of their work day. Over recent years, Microsoft has grown and evolved Outlook to give users a richer, more enjoyable experience. This integrated email experience for users has a feature referred to as autocomplete, which can autofill the contact details of a recipient.
Autocomplete/Autofill functionality has been available for many years. Once an email has been sent to a recipient, they will then appear in suggested recipients for future emails once you have typed the first few characters of their address. This simple functionality gives users a helpful and practical experience and is intended to improve productivity, as people don’t have to type the full email address each time. Autocomplete also means you don’t have to add every user you contact regularly to your Outlook address book.
However, because of this, some risks can be associated with this feature, leading to potential data risks. There are also practical issues with this feature, such as;
- If you enter a new email address incorrectly and send the email, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com, this new address can be added to your autocomplete list, making it very easy to repeat the mistake in the future.
- Inbound addresses can be automatically added to your suggestions, even if you have never emailed them.
The risks associated with Autocomplete/Autofill can also not be ignored. These risks may involve sending an email with sensitive data to the wrong recipient, Human Error happens regularly in business, however, some mistakes can lead to severe data loss and reputational damage.
One option to mitigate the risks associated with this issue is to stop using autocomplete, however, this may affect end-user productivity as employees would have to type the email address themselves.
While users are less likely to send an email to the wrong person in their autocomplete list, this may lead to a much larger risk of misdirected emails caused by mis-typiing an email address.
In time, people will end up creating their own ‘autocomplete list’ or address books in other applications, such as Excel, and could end up storing other associated personal data locally on their devices, creating data risks for your business.
We Can Help!
At HCS Business Solutions we can help your business utilise Office 365 to its full potential, while also training your team on the latest Cybersecurity trends to ensure your business remains protected at all times! To learn more, contact our team!