What is Encrypted Email? Isn’t all Email Secure?

Online security has become an ever-larger topic of discussion in today’s world – just look at all the ways private information has been exposed, exploited, and compromised in the past twelve months. Granted, there seem to be a lot of ways for information to be compromised, but the low-hanging fruit in many scenarios is email.

encrypted email from Lieberman technologies

Email security – a contradiction in terms?

Email is probably the most common and longest-lived form of electronic communication around, and therefore most of us don’t give it a lot of thought. We use email to send and receive information of varying degrees of sensitivity, from casual conversation to private and personal medical or financial information… the latter of which is never a good idea to share via email.

When you consider how many hacking incidents and cyber-attacks are triggered in some way via email, you might conclude that the term “email security” is a contradiction in terms – and it can be, if you’re not encrypting your email.

What is encrypted email?

Encryption relies on a pair of mathematically-related cryptographic keys, one of which is public and the other private. Because these keys exist in pairs, messages encrypted with one key can only be decrypted with the other corresponding key.

When both parties are in possession of the necessary cryptographic keys, the email message is scrambled upon creation from the sender and unscrambled when the recipient opens it. Because the encryption occurs at the point of creation and then is decrypted when it is opened, the received email appears normal and readable.

If you’ve ever received an email that consisted of long strings of letters, symbols, and numbers that made no sense, you’ve received an encrypted email for which you did not have the necessary public key to decrypt.

Encryption as Part of Data Security

Encrypted or not, email can be a chink in the armor of business data security. Even with a pretty sturdy set of protocols to catch potential threats before they reach your company inboxes, if your business isn’t encrypting its emails your information could still be vulnerable.

Think encryption isn’t important? Consider this:  unencrypted email can be intercepted en route between two otherwise secure points, and the information contained therein can be viewed by anyone. If the contents of that email include proprietary company information, how would you feel about it being viewed by someone outside your company?

The Human Factor

Unfortunately, there is no way to bulletproof your email communications from human error because otherwise rational and logical people fall for spam messages, phishing scams, and viruses lurking in email attachments.

But providing your employees with encryption in their email can help to protect your business information from being intercepted and viewed on the way to its destination. And regardless of whether your email is encrypted or not, there are some pieces of information that you should NEVER send via email.

Never Email These Six Things

  • Passwords
  • Social security numbers
  • Tax information
  • Financial information
  • Medical information
  • Legal information

It doesn’t matter if you’re exchanging pleasantries or having a high-level business discussion, if you’re not encrypting your email, any and every message can be intercepted and read by a third party. Maybe you’re not as protective of your mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe as she would like you to be, but if it’s intercepted by a third party, there’s not much damage done.

That’s not always the case with business communications or highly sensitive personal information. Protecting your email communications with encryption can mean the difference between business as usual and all-hands-on-deck damage control. Which would you prefer?

If you would like to learn more about encrypted email for your business, call us: (812) 434-6600.