I think that I communicate with my colleagues almost as much via email as through verbal communications – even those I share an office with. In fact, probably about a third of the verbal communications are social interaction rather than direct business discussion. In email, however, most of the communication with my colleagues contains business information, sometimes including large attachments containing sensitive strategic plans. And unlike a verbal conversation which is lost to the ether, email endures. So, while talking about business plans outside the office where someone might overhear has some risk to the company, sending an email to the wrong recipient can be significantly more damaging. Yet, organizations are still not protecting themselves from these accidental breaches.
As a case in point I offer you this example from the National Football League (NFL). It is reported that on July 1st, the New Orleans Saints intended to send an email to the NFL head office regarding their plans to pick up a player who was just put on waivers (released) by the Cleveland Browns. The email, however, was accidentally addressed to the entire league. In other words, they broadcast their plan to all of their competition.