PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, or Pretty Hard to Use?


Thought Leadership

PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, or Pretty Hard to Use?

Neil Farquharson

Pretty good privacy, or PGP, is often referred to as the “first born” when it comes to data encryption. Originally developed in 1991, PGP is an encryption and decryption program that is used for signing, encrypting and decrypting text, emails, files and more.

With the endless string of data breaches, cyber threats and government spying, there has been an increased focus on data protection tools such as email encryption. Companies and privacy-conscious citizens are seeking solutions to protect their data from unwanted eyes and avoid the potentially catastrophic effects of a data breach. But one fairly obvious technophile doesn’t seem to be following this adoption trend.

Recently, SC Magazine reported that Phil Zimmerman, one of the world’s foremost cryptologists and creator of PGP, isn’t encrypting his communications and doesn’t use the service he created. Does he simply have nothing to hide, or is there more to the story?

Zimmerman later clarified that he doesn’t use PGP, because it isn’t compatible with the MacBook he uses for email, and that it has never worked with any iOS device.

While this is true, there are other encryption solutions available for OS X and iOS devices.

Regardless of operating system, anyone using an outdated email encryption solution like PGP knows it can be a painfully frustrating process. Remembering encryption keys or dealing with a clunky interface can be challenging, even for experienced people. And forget about using outdated email encryption on a mobile device.

The truth is, for encrypted email to be widely adopted both within companies and throughout society at large, an emphasis on the user experience needs to be rejuvenated.

Fortunately, we are beginning to see a change. Companies are realizing that if the solutions they offer their employees and recipients are difficult to use, the odds of adoption decrease dramatically. And with low adoption, the companies’ risk for data exposure increases.

In order to increase adoption, companies are turning to email encryption solutions that are easy-to-use and seamless to integrate. By making email encryption as simple as regular email, companies can rest assured that sensitive and confidential data is protected in transit.

For an easy-to-use solution, look no further than Zix Email Encryption. Want to discuss further? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @ZixCorp.