How Email Encryption Helps to Mitigate Risk Under Privacy Laws


Thought Leadership

How Email Encryption Helps to Mitigate Risk Under Privacy Laws

Noah Webster

The European Union passed the GDPR data protection and privacy framework, but each member state is drafting its own specific laws. Similar (but not identical) laws recently went into effect in California, and New York is considering its own statewide legislation. Governments at all levels are preparing to regulate data, which is a positive and necessary step. 
It also will be confusing for corporations. 
In addition to the above, a proposal currently being pushed by tech giants such as Amazon and Google would create a U.S. federal set of data protection standards that supersede state rules. With varying laws, a problem is the lack of consensus about what those regulations should be.
The goal of current and future regulations is the same: to protect personal data from exploitation. However, regulations often pursue that goal in different ways. GDPR, for instance, requires companies to take "appropriate technical and organizational measures" without explicitly detailing or mandating those measures. To meet GDPR's requirements, Denmark took it a step further by mandating email encryption as the appropriate measure. This is hardly the only area where data rules are vague, redundant, or contradictory.
When legislatures pass such laws, companies will need to contend with dozens of international rules at once. Managing this workload is a huge undertaking.

An All-Around Solution for Business Communications

Encrypted email has long been a critical mainstay of cybersecurity defenses. This protection endures when other methods fail, which is why the most sensitive information is typically encrypted. Regulators may have hesitated to require email encryption across the board because they want to give companies some flexibility and autonomy over their own security measures. Email encryption is often recommended, but it’s rarely required (at least currently).
Companies are understandably focused on the letter of the law right now, but cybersecurity should not be only about meeting regulatory requirements. Rather, it’s about keeping data safe and protecting consumers, businesses, and the public. Encrypting email makes data a lot less likely to be stolen because it provides a secure barrier against hackers — protection that travels with transmitted data.
Encrypting email may not be a regulatory requirement, but it’s a significant regulatory solution. A company that implements email encryption demonstrates that it's committed to the highest standards of data protection, satisfying regulators in Denmark and California alike. Plus, companies don’t have to treat the loss or theft of uncompromised encrypted data like a data breach, eliminating breach costs and loss of trust. In short, email encryption solutions do more to keep data safe and to clear the highest regulatory hurdles.

Staying Ahead of the Regulatory Curve

Even though data laws are already hitting the books, many of the details are still being worked out. After this first wave of regulations takes effect, expect newer and more restrictive regulations to be passed regularly. Companies should begin preparing now for a future when cybersecurity and regulatory compliance require stronger protection.
Encrypted email is obviously an asset, but not all solutions are created equal. Email encryption solutions from Zix provide an expansive layer of security by combining major encryption protocols: S/MIME and TLS.
Ease of use is another important consideration. Compliance often causes communication to slow and workloads to lag, simply because protecting data takes extra effort. Zix eliminates that issue by making security automatic, removing hassles entirely where possible and easing additional steps where required. In most cases, applying email encryption is seamless and effortless because outbound messages are scanned and secured automatically on the basis of policies, which empowers users to work securely and compliantly without question.
The final and perhaps most important element of Zix's email encryption solution is our commitment to customer service. We understand how much of a burden compliance is for our customers, and we understand that tomorrow’s rules will look different from today’s. That is why we provide our clients expertise about changing regulations and ongoing compliance.
Our goal is to provide better protection and added peace of mind. ZixEncrypt simplifies cybersecurity for our customers. In the process, it also takes the anxiety out of regulations.