Employees in a company click “Submit” many times a day. This applies to the executive suite as well as to the trainees. That little click is made so quickly that we are not always aware of the risks involved. However, the affair surrounding the revelations of former CIA employee Edward Snowden and the constant news of data protection violations clearly show us the dangers lurking here. The challenge today is to recognize the risks and find solutions without hindering business processes.
The Weak Points Of Email Communication
We associate postcards with fond memories of family vacations or adventures with friends. We send postcards or postcards without worrying about a stranger reading the back. Why should anyone care what is on it? Usually, it is just a short greeting to someone you trust.
Emails are much the same. One crucial difference: an email can be intercepted and read by a stranger just as easily as a postcard, but its content is usually not as banal. Certainly, there are also irrelevant emails, but the emails in which valuable data is passed on, for example, about customers or upcoming contract negotiations, are of interest.
Such information is useful for the company, its customers and partners, and potential competitors and malicious actors who use it to run a lucrative business. Without suitable protective measures, it is easy for unauthorized persons to access data from emails sent over the public Internet. And what is even more serious: the company concerned may never find out about it .
The Risks For Companies
It’s easy to put off the problem when assessing the urgency of protecting email communications, especially since it doesn’t seem to be a priority. Of course, it is important to handle customer and partner data carefully. On the other hand, companies weigh up their responsibility, and the statistical probability that their valued customers and partners will find out their email system has been compromised. It is easy to overlook the fact that there is more at stake than just damage to the company’s image.
According to the current study “Cost of a Data Breach” by the Ponemon Institute in Germany, the costs incurred by a company’s security incidents amount to an average of 4.11 million euros . This does not take into account possible legal proceedings or loss of sales with customers. It also does not include fines that are not decreasing, given the increasingly strict industry-specific or official requirements.
Encrypted Emails: Competitive Advantage Or Just Annoying?
Encryption makes the content of emails – the message text and all attachments – unreadable for unauthorized persons. The encryption is based on complex mathematical algorithms that convert the original content of the email into an information package that can only be read once the intended recipient has decrypted the message. Any unauthorized person who intercepts such an encrypted email while it is being transmitted on the Internet or reads it from a message archive will not be able to read it. The underlying algorithms are complex, but they still have to be easy to use for users to make use of them.
Complicated Solutions And Their Disadvantages
There are differences between the solutions for email encryption. Some solutions are not very user-friendly and impose a cumbersome procedure on everyone – their employees and customers, and partners who receive encrypted emails. The once fast communication tool is becoming an annoying hurdle for business processes. The bottom line is that the consequences of such an implementation can be more serious than not using encryption at all.
Workers’ Circumvention Strategies
Hardly any employee deliberately exposes their company, customers, or partners to risk. But when an encryption solution makes it difficult to carry out the task, many start looking for a workaround. Regardless of whether this is a private email account or an authorized cloud storage device such as Dropbox, employees will find a detour to carry out their tasks with the usual level of efficiency and convenience.
Complaints From Customers And Partners
A great advantage of email communication is its universal availability. Whether a company communicates with end-users or other companies, most people can send and receive emails without any problems. An encryption solution that unduly complicates the use of this universal means of communication triggers a flood of complaints from customers and business partners.
The delay in important business processes could be even more serious because customers and partners cannot open and answer encrypted emails. If too many additional steps are required for a simple tool valued for its ease of use, it will certainly affect your customers’ decision-making and slow down business processes.
Convenient Solutions And Their Advantages
Email encryption doesn’t have to be complicated. Thanks to numerous technological advances, encrypted emails are just as easy to use today as unencrypted ones. In addition, the solutions are constantly being adapted to the changing requirements of companies, employees, customers, and partners. This includes:
Automatic Email Scanning
With powerful and comfortable email encryption, employees can maintain their normal workflow and concentrate on their actual tasks. An additional automatic scanning in connection with established and up-to-date policy filters makes it possible to recognize emails that contain sensitive content so that they are encrypted without user intervention. The employees do not make the decision themselves whether to encrypt an email. This avoids human errors and provides better overall protection for email communication.
Convenient Delivery On The Recipient Side
If employees don’t have to take additional steps to encrypt email, why shouldn’t customers and partners benefit too? An innovative solution for email encryption also enables the automatic decryption of protected emails, provided that the recipients use the same platform. Recipients using a different medium can receive the message in two additional simple steps. This avoids anger and irritation.
Easy To Use On Mobile Devices
Today, work processes are no longer restricted to the desk. The use of smartphones and tablets is not tied to the workplace or working hours. Email communication on mobile devices now takes up more time than any other Internet-based activity. Given the increasing importance of mobile devices, the convenient delivery of encrypted messages is crucial to ensure that email communication is safe and satisfactory for companies, customers, and business partners.
So that companies can get an idea of their requirements for email encryption, they should evaluate the incoming and outgoing email traffic from an IT perspective. This gives you an impression of which people inside and outside the company exchange emails containing sensitive customer and company data.
On this basis and with the knowledge of the latest innovations in email encryption, you can then select a solution that, on the one hand, enables secure communication and, on the other hand, gives customers and partners additional trust without disrupting business processes and without unnecessary annoyance.