Are you sending emails securely?
Remember the days before we used email in business? If you cast your mind back a few decades there was a time when people used to write their messages down by hand on paper, put it in an envelope and send it in the post.
Fast forward to 2020 and email is an integral part of our business culture. We use email to communicate with customers, potential customers, suppliers and our team members. People have their email open throughout the working day and, for some, their email system also functions as their to-do list.
But have you ever stopped and wondered if the email you’re sending is actually secure?
A brief history of emails…
When Ray Tomlinson originally invented email in the 1970s, he didn’t do it with security or privacy in mind. And, although the security of email has moved on since then, email is still not a secure method of communication.
When you send an email, it’s a bit like posting a letter: you write the letter, add someone’s address and post it.
And, just like posting a letter, you’re relying on other people to deliver the letter for you – without reading it on the way. You hope that the letter ends up in the right place without being read but we can never be certain. In fact sending a fax is more secure than sending an email yet businesses of all sizes still use email to communicate passwords, credit card details and other personal information.
In 2018 having good email security was pushed higher up the agenda following the introduction of the new GDPR regulations which mean that any potential data breaches could land businesses with a hefty fine.
The solution to secure emails
So, if email isn’t secure, what is the best way to keep your communications private?
The answer is Encryption.
Encryption means that the information in the email is converted into code so it can’t be read. The email needs to be encrypted when it leaves your computer and remain encrypted throughout its delivery. Then, when it reaches its destination, it is decrypted.
This is known as end-to-end encryption and it’s the best way to keep your business’s email secure because it means that nobody can read the information within the emails you send.
So what are your options for sending encrypted emails?
If you use Microsoft 365, you can make use of the package’s own encryption services which are available in the more expensive Microsoft 365 plans. As with a lot of Microsoft products, personally I find this to be slightly clunky to use and often difficult to configure.
Another option is to use a portal-based product which means when you send an encrypted email, the recipient gets a notification that you have sent them an encrypted email. To access it, they have to log in to an online portal with a separate username and password.
We work with a supplier who uses a cloud-based secure messaging system to send us sensitive information and, as I have experienced first hand, it’s not easy to use. I have to log into a web portal with a PIN number to retrieve my information. Then the information isn’t kept in my mailbox, so if I want to refer to some information later, I first have to work out if they send it securely or direct to my mailbox which is a fairly tedious experience.
Secondly, because at the supplier end they’re also grappling with confusion over which system to use, sometimes I get sensitive information sent via the secure portal but on other occasions someone will forget and send it via email.
So, although this organisation has made an attempt to use email securely, all it has achieved is creating confusion. Speaking to my clients, I’ve found that it’s all about the user experience – and this experience is a pretty frustrating one for everybody.
The product that I recommend to customers is Rmail. With Rmail, everything works from Outlook so there is no big change to the way that your team works.
To send an encrypted email, it’s as simple as clicking on the ‘send registered’ tab. What’s more, the recipient will receive the email in their Outlook too and they can choose to reply to the email and use encryption too, there are no passwords to remember or software addons to install for them.
On top of that, Rmail is really easy to setup and compliant with GDPR. What’s not to love?
If you aren’t currently sending encrypted emails, or you think the user experience of the current method you’re using could be improved, I recommend you check out Rmail or please get in touch and I can tell you more.