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Better sent than sorry

John Spoor, Regional Manager, WatchGuard MEA

Very few businesses use the post to send document these days. It’s called snail mail for a reason, and as one very popular internet meme says – ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’. However, although it isn’t the most time effective way of sharing information, it does have the benefit of being secure.  Tracked postage, hand delivery and the simple action of sealing an envelope helps to ensure that your information is shared only with the person it is intended for.  Postal services worldwide pride themselves on delivering a service which is trustworthy, and above all, safe.  Unfortunately, the newer, fancier cousin of the postal service, email, isn’t as trustworthy.

As with most digital services, email is one of the many sharing platforms that‘s used in excess with very few people recognising the threats that it brings with it. Emails go through a selection of ‘waypoints’ before reaching its final destination. At each waypoint, there is a chance that the information or mail be compromised.  It’s near impossible to ensure each point through the sending process is secure and protected, and it only takes one weak link to corrupt data.

Take the following as an example – If you were to write a love letter, you wouldn’t give it to a stranger to deliver it. Why not? Well, people enjoy a good story (love story that is) and although it may get there, it’s most probably going to have been read before the possible love of your life receives it.  Now take that love letter, make it an email, add some sensitive data such as bank account details and send it to a client. If you haven’t made sure that it’s secure, then you might as well have just written it out and given it to a stranger.

What’s the solution to this problem?

Take security into your own hands and invest in the tool of encryption. Regardless of the fact it sounds like something used in a James Bond movie, email encryption is one of the best ways to secure sensitive information and ensure that data will be received without being compromised.  Encryption software, like WatchGuard XCS SecureMail, scans each email, searching for key words and data, while matching it with company policies to determine if there is a need for encryption. If so, the email, and attachments, will be encrypted and sent.  The recipient receives a private key for access to the data from the key server, and after a one-off enrolment, the email is decrypted.

Employers sending emails go about communicating in the same manner as they would prior to the software integration. The encryption software works to encrypt emails though scanning, processing and monitoring the data, rather than an individual highlighting the need for the service. This means that there is no room for error, and employers can work in the same timely manner that they are used to.

Encryption supports the data loss prevention software put into play for a business’s network security, and can help to highlight possible leaks in the case of a data breach. There is also a log maintained by the software which shows the emails that have been encrypted and sent.  A centralised monitoring system is able to log all the security based data and logging into a report in real time, allowing it to be checked and reviewed at any time.

With the recent increase in hacking and data breaches throughout all industries, encryption is the smartest way to protect a business’s key communication tool.  As the old saying goes, you can only rely on yourself in life — so take matters into your own hands and make sure that your emails are for your eyes (and the recipient’s) only.

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