An increasing number of businesses are now using email encryption to ensure sensitive data sent via email cannot be intercepted in transit and viewed by unauthorized individuals. Email is a security weak point and email accounts are targeted by hackers. While email security gateways are used to protect against phishing and malware that give hackers access to email accounts, there is often little or no protection for emails in transit.
Emails, by default, are sent in plain text. That means that if they are intercepted the message content, including attachments, can be read by anyone. In 2021, around 320 million businesses were sent and received every day and the vast majority of those messages are unsecured. Businesses rely on email for communicating quickly, and emails often contain sensitive data that could result in financial losses, embarrassment, or a loss of trust if they fell into the wrong hands.
Hackers target emails because it is an easy way of gaining access to valuable information. Bypassing security features to access internal corporate networks can be challenging, but intercepting emails is simple as the messages are usually sent with no protection. A survey conducted by Egress in 2021 indicated 93% of companies had suffered an outbound email data breach in the past 12 months, with email data breaches occurring every 12 hours on average. Even though email data breaches are common, only 16% of surveyed companies used technology to protect data shared externally via email.
How Does Email Encryption Work?
Email encryption is used to ensure the confidentiality of emails and any attached files. When emails are encrypted, they are rendered unintelligible so if they are intercepted, they cannot be read. In order to read the message, it must first be decrypted, and that requires a decryption key which is only held by the recipient company.
Email encryption solutions usually offer manual and automated encryption. Manual encryption is provided by a mail client add-on. When a user sends an email, a prompt will be generated asking whether they want the email to be encrypted. This method is not without risk as an employee may accidentally send an unsecured email externally. Rules can be set for email encryption to automate the process. A business may choose to encrypt all external emails, or the solution may support keyword-based encryption, where rules are set for emails containing certain keywords. If the keyword is found in the email, it will automatically be encrypted.
The two most common methods of email encryption are Transport-Layer Security (TLS) and end-to-end encryption. TLS encrypts messages in transit to protect against email interception. End-to-end encryption is more secure, as it goes beyond TLS and also requires authentication to read a message. The advantage of only using TLS is that messages are encrypted, and the recipients do not need to take any further actions to decrypt and read messages. With end-to-end encryption, an authentication process must take place, such as using a one-time passcode to access the email.
What to Look for in an Email Encryption Solution
If you want to protect business email data, you need encryption for emails. There are many encryption solutions for businesses, but it is important to choose one that matches your business needs and balances security with usability. The solution should be easy for employees to use, as if it is not, they may avoid using it.
You should choose a solution with robust encryption with multiple layers of protection, and the flexibility to be able to increase protection for emails of a highly sensitive nature, combining TLS for ease of use and end-to-end encryption for security.
Cloud-based encryption solutions are the most convenient. They require no hardware, can be managed centrally, and are highly scalable. It is important that the encryption solution is technology agnostic as there are many different email environments. Many email encryption solutions include data loss protection features, such as keyword-based encryption. This is especially important if you use a mail client and give employees the option of encrypting certain messages.
EncryptTitan from TitanHQ
EncryptTitan from TitanHQ is a cost-effective cloud-based email encryption solution for businesses that makes protecting emails in transit as simple as possible. The solution has been developed to allow SMBs to easily protect email communications and for managed service providers to add email encryption to their services.
EncryptTitan combines TLS encryption with end-to-end encryption. TLS is used to seamlessly protect emails in transit in a user-friendly way, where the recipients of the emails do not need to take any additional actions to view the messages, with the option of using a secure portal for end-to-end encryption, where the user must authenticate with the portal to view and reply to a message.
Keyword-based encryption can be added for peace of mind to ensure that all sensitive emails are encrypted, policies can easily be set to automate encryption, or a mail client can be added for manual encryption to allow employees to decide which emails need to be encrypted.
A full audit trail is maintained so it is possible to see who has read emails, responded, printed, or saved them, there is an instant message recall feature, and time limits can be set for messages to be opened, after which they will be automatically deleted.
If you want to prevent data loss via email and the interception of sensitive email data in transit, give TitanHQ a call for more information about EncryptTitan. Product demonstrations can be booked on request and the full solution is available on a 14-day free trial.