Why is it that so many companies and people still send credit card numbers, bank information, social security numbers, patient data, IT passwords, and other private information via email without basic security in mind? The answer is — because it’s easy!
When you press the send button, your email is routed through a maze of servers, routers, and network devices on the internet. It will eventually land at another email server where it will then be delivered to a specific recipient. The path the email travels between email servers is not controlled. This could leave your information and data extremely vulnerable if it’s not protected.
Email was never designed as a secure way to send data. It’s only in recent years that add on products have bolted onto email systems to add security to an insecure form of communication. These systems have traditionally been difficult to implement and even harder for users to grasp how to use and manage.
There is however a very easy, and cost effective, solution from Office 365 called Azure Information Protection. You can send emails the same way you have always sent them, but by adding a special phrase like “EncryptedMessage” to the beginning of the subject line of a message before pressing send, it will automatically secure the email and all its contents, including attachments. Only the recipient can view the contents of the message.
The person on the other end would receive an email similar to the one below. They would need to open the “message.html” attachment (see below) which would direct them to a webpage to view the contents of the message. After a designated amount of time, the email would expire and no longer be accessible by the recipient.
Azure Information Protection is a very easy and cost-effective way to protect you company’s data. However, we always suggest having a professional assess your email security policy. If employees don’t have a way of sending data securely or if a system is not in place, chances are that your data or your customer’s data is at risk.
JNT TEK offers services to help companies trying to navigate securing their data and can provide a free audit and review of the current state of your business’s security systems.
Quick Tips for Securing email
- Balance the right amount of security with the right amount complexity
- The harder the system is to use, the less likely it will be used
- Make sure that a written policy is in place for how to send information
- Spend the time to show employees how to use the systems
- Don’t feel pressured by a vendor or customer to send data without securing it