Emails, especially those containing sensitive information about finances, personal details, or health, are only intended to be read by the named recipient. This is particularly true for businesses with a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure they treat personal information with the utmost care and respect. All of this makes it more critical to ensure that these kinds of emails and other communications are encrypted so that no unauthorized people become part of the conversation.
There are several ways to protect messaging and email services online. However, not all of these are equally secure, and some can leave emails and other communications vulnerable to attack – either due to poor encryption or weak links in the encryption chain that can be exploited.
Let’s look at the best ways to send and receive encrypted emails.
How Does Email Encryption Work?
Encryption has evolved over the years since it was first introduced. As hackers and scammers became more sophisticated in their methods, so too did the methods of encrypting emails.
There are two main methods of email encryption that are commonly used. One is Transport Layer Security, known as TLS, and the other is end-to-end encryption (which is used in various ways). These standard forms of encryption operate in different ways, and their suitability for use with business email may vary according to requirements.
This is the main form of encryption used by major email providers such as Microsoft and Google. These platforms utilize STARTTLS, which secures messages in transit, upgrading the protection on plain text messages. This prevents messages from being intercepted. However, there are a couple of drawbacks with the TLS system.
TLS secures the message when in transit but does not secure the data contained in the message itself. That means only the transmission channel is secured, leaving the message’s contents visible if an attacker can surpass this channel encryption. In addition, security is only guaranteed from the computer to the server but there are no assurances on its journey from the server to the recipient. This makes TLS less secure, especially if sensitive information is being sent.
This form of encryption ensures that messages are only ever decrypted on the recipient’s device, with no servers in between ever being allowed to read the message. This is a more secure standard of encryption and the form recommended for businesses looking to ensure the highest security standards in their operations.
Encryption works by using a system of private and public keys. The sender uses the recipient’s public key to encrypt a message. Only the recipient’s private key, which is stored on their device, can decrypt this message. No third party can read the message at any point in its journey.
How to Choose the Right Encrypted Email Service
There are many different platforms that utilize the encrypted security of end-to-end, each with its plus points and drawbacks. The most suitable service for any business will depend on its specific needs, but every organization should have an end-to-end encrypted email solution. Choosing the correct end-to-end encryption service makes it possible to comply with all legal requirements and ensure the safety and security of both internal information and sensitive client data.