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12
Jul
2022
Keeping Your Email Safe with Encryption

Keeping Your Email Safe with Encryption

Email plays a pivotal role in our everyday lives. According to FinancesOnline, a staggering 306.4 billion emails were sent and received worldwide each day in 2020¹. However, with all these emails passing through our inboxes, there is a serious threat. Although only 1.2 percent of all emails sent in 2019 were potentially malicious, down from 5 percent in 2017, hackers still use email to commit their cybercrimes¹. Now, you may ask yourself, “How do I protect my emails from being hacked?” 

Meet email encryption. This technology prevents unwanted or unauthorized users from accessing sensitive data. Business Wire notes that the demand for encryption is rapidly growing and projected to reach $12.9 billion (about $40 per person in the US) by 2027². In this article, we will learn more about email encryption and how to make it your number-one line of defense against hackers. 

The encryption process is simple: when you send a message, it is transformed into cyphertext and is only turned back to plain text–via decryption key or a central server–when the message has been delivered³. In this way, the message cannot be read by anyone until it has arrived in the inbox of the intended recipient.  

Although it may be tempting to encrypt only those emails with sensitive or confidential information, you should encrypt all emails before sending them. This applies the same level of security to all emails and makes confidential messages indistinguishable from casual correspondence, which is useful for hiding sensitive content from email hackers. For example, if you only encrypt one email containing your credit card information, hackers will notice it⁴. If you leave all your other emails unencrypted, that is an open invitation for them to infiltrate your account and use your data maliciously⁴. Encryption is an effective tool for ensuring the safety and security of your information. 

Microsoft 365 users can take advantage of three email encryption tools: Microsoft Purview Message Encryption, information rights management (IRM), and secure/multipurpose internet mail extensions³. Purview Message Encryption lets you send encrypted emails to anyone inside or outside your organization, regardless of their destination email address, provided that any usage restrictions established by your company are respected³.  

IRM applies usage restrictions along with encryption to prevent unauthorized users from printing, forwarding, or copying your company’s sensitive information³. However, there is one drawback of IRM: some applications may not support it on all devices³. 

While it is a good practice to encrypt all your emails, certain situations may absolutely require it. Depending on your job, you may be required to send confidential or sensitive information every day to a variety of recipients. In this case, consider using a personal email certificate to digitally sign your emails before sending them⁴. Once you do so, your messages are also encrypted, and you and your recipients can verify that the emails are yours⁴. 

However, that is not the only benefit of encrypting your emails with a personal certificate. Like a seawall preventing floods during a coastal storm, these certificates keep the rushing waves of spam and malware from reaching your inbox⁴. Once your family and friends are accustomed to finding your digital signature on emails, they will recognize that it is you and subsequently delete all unsigned messages. This saves you both time and headaches. 

If you need to email your most confidential information, Microsoft 365 offers S/MIME³. This certificate-based encryption solution lets you both encrypt and digitally sign your email messages before sending them³. By using unique digital certificates with “the keys for verifying signatures and encrypting or decrypting messages,” S/MIME gives you much-needed protection³. No matter which route you take, encrypting your emails keeps sensitive business information safe from hackers. 

Navitend can help you. Call 973.448.0070 or setup an appointment today. 

 

Sources: 

1. FinancesOnline – “56 Email Statistics You Must Learn: User Behaviour & Best Practices” by Jenny Chang. Retrieved from https://financesonline.com/email-statistics/

2. Business Wire – “Global Email Encryption Market (2021 to 2027) – by Component, Organization Size, Deployment Mode, End-user and Region.” Retrieved from https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210825005563/en/Global-Email-Encryption-Market-2021-to-2027---by-Component-Organization-Size-Deployment-Mode-End-user-and-Region---ResearchAndMarkets.com

3. Microsoft - “Email encryption.” Retrieved from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/compliance/email-encryption?view=o365-worldwide

4. Lifewire – “Why You Should Encrypt Your Email” by Tony Bradley. Retrieved from https://www.lifewire.com/you-should-encrypt-your-email-2486679.  

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