Digital communication continues to permeate our world due to the demand for quick, convenient communication. One form of digital communication that shows no signs of declining is email. Email is entwined into everyday life, both for business and personal matters. Most individuals in the U.S. have at least one email account that they regularly use, but many have multiple accounts for work, school, and personal use. What many email users fail to recognize is that plain email is not secure. Email can only be secure when it is sent encrypted.
Plain emails travel from sender to receiver across the open internet with little to no protection, leaving them accessible to 3rd party intervention. A lack of email protection can allow for interruptions, alterations, and stolen confidential information. Any interruptions in email communications have the potential to yield devastating losses for both individuals and businesses.
Despite many individual’s assumptions, encryption is no longer as complex as it sounds. Numerous companies have transitioned email encryption from an often-complicated process to an easy, sophisticated security measure. Email encryption involves ciphering of emails and data into an unreadable form to outside parties. Upon receiving an encrypted email, receivers are able to read encrypted emails with an encryption key. Many email encryption programs now have the capability to manage encryption keys for email users, making the process simple and painless
Email encryption reduces the risk of personal, financial, and business confidentiality breaches. Information often sent in emails include social security numbers, birth dates, banking information, credit card numbers, pay stubs, invoices, and bills. Along with the possible exposure of confidential information in unprotected emails, many businesses and organization face breaches of confidentiality agreements at the result of unencrypted emails. For example, health organizations must comply with HIPAA, which requires that ePHI (electronic protected health information) may not be sent in an unencrypted e-mail. Educational personnel must protect student education records according to FERPA, and financial institutions are responsible for protecting client financial information according to GLBA. A breach could easily occur when emails are sent unencrypted, which is a major liability for these organizations, not to mention the loss of customer trust.
Email encryption provides a sophisticated layer of protection to maintain confidentiality and integrity of emails, their contents, and users. If you would like to know more about email encryption, contact us!
Larger organizations usually have some form of e-mail encryption already in place. These solutions are generally set up by their IT departments and they ensure e-mails are automatically encrypted, or that they are encrypted based on a keyword somewhere in the subject line. However, smaller organizations may not be able to afford such an encryption solution.
The good news is that there are other options. One simple, free plugin that you use to encrypt e-mails is called Virtru. Virtru is compatible with Google’s Gmail or any e-mail account in Microsoft Outlook. The plugin encrypts emails from existing email accounts without the need for major software installations or management of login credentials. Email recipients also have the ability to read emails encrypted by Virtru without having the program installed. Other benefits of using Virtu are read receipts, PDF watermarking, branded email templates, and the ability to recall emails.
How to use Virtru with Gmail:
Step 1: Download the Virtru plugin
Step 2: Setup Virtru with your email account
Step 3: Send emails
Step 4: Open emails
How to use Virtru with Outlook:
Step 1: Download Virtru for Outlook
Step 2: Authorize Virtru for your Outlook email
Step 3: Send & receive emails
How to use Virtru with iOS:
Step 1: Download the VIrtru app
Step 2: Connect your email account to your Virtru app to activate Virtru
Step 3: Send & receive emails through the Virtru app