Today, a Wall Street Journal article highlighted recent email breaches and featured the perspectives of a number of business executives who are rightfully concerned. Some are limiting their use of email, while another considers the insecurity of email a cost of doing business.
The article continued by weaving in a summary of the risks of email from security consultant Ryan Lackey who described email as “a 35-to-40-year-old system that does not have security built in from day one. You’re basically putting the most secure data into a system that was never designed for it.” Lackey is quite right about the insecurity of email and how long it’s basically gone unnoticed by most businesses and consumers. But before executives have such knee-jerk reactions as limiting the use of email or wrongly assume it’s an inevitable cost, it’s important to also be aware of the many solutions that can be used to keep email and business flowing securely.
Email encryption is a 20+ year-old solution that solves inherent vulnerabilities of email. Policy-based encryption protects email with sensitive data as it leaves an organization’s network and travels across the Internet, preventing hackers from intercepting the communication and any of its sensitive data from what’s called packet sniffing. End-to-end encryption also protects email in transit but extends security behind the network, preventing any hackers from accessing email if they break through a company’s perimeter.
So the question remains: if solutions exist, why aren’t they being used? The answer is simple: lack of ease of use. Unveiled in 1991 by Phil Zimmerman, PGP was the first encryption solution, and it continues to be used decades later – most famously by Edward Snowden. However, unless you’re a security expert or mathematician, PGP is often too difficult to use, and that has been the perception of email encryption among many businesses and consumers. Just as a light has been shined on the risks of email, we need to bring awareness to the many advancements of email encryption, particularly in ease of use.
As the leader in email encryption, Zix has paved the way for innovations focused on superior experiences for senders, recipients and administrators. We continue to do so, because we understand that when you make security a seamless part of everyday lives, it becomes the norm. We see that every day when consumers login to their bank portal or make an online purchase or, in business, when employees access their office with a keycard or login to their computers. And before executives, companies and consumers unnecessarily stop using email or simply throw up their hands in defeat, we need to see it when anyone clicks ‘send.’