Whether you rely on email to run your small business, connect with friends, or both, you’ve probably exchanged information via email that hackers, cyber-criminals, and identity thieves should never see.
A good rule of thumb is to treat email messages like a postcard. Assume virtually anyone can see what you’ve written, where you’re sending it from, and whom it’s going to.
But what if you want to protect the information in your emails, keep the content away from prying eyes, or simply ensure your email account isn’t “hijacked”?
Email and data encryption is akin to sealing your message inside an envelope — one that only your intended recipients can open.
Encryption digitally “scrambles” the contents of your emails, files, or other data transmitted online, rendering them inaccessible to unauthorized recipients.
The 2016 U.S. presidential campaign transformed email and data encryption from technical jargon into daily fodder for the press outlets, shedding light onto the often misunderstood issue of email hacking and security.
Hackers managed to access thousands of emails sent to, and from, Secretary Hillary Clinton, providing juicy fodder for opponents who called her use of a private email server reckless and even illegal. Cyber criminals used phishing techniques to gain access to what should have otherwise been secure messages, a common, and costly, problem for many who rely on the internet for work and play.
Have you ever received an email from Apple informing you of a number of mysterious charges against your iTunes account? Or a message from eBay asking you to re-enter your password and user ID through a link provided inside an email? Or an urgent message from PayPal saying your account has been hacked, and so you need to reset your password right away by entering the old one through a secure website? If so, you’ve been the target of a phishing campaign.
Research indicates that phishing is a growing problem worldwide. One study, for example, shows a staggering 250 percent increase during the first quarter of 2016 alone.
Based on those numbers, and the magnitude of damage that can result when data falls into criminal hands as the result of phishing or other types of email theft, the answer is simple: Yes, data and email encryption is important, especially for anyone who operates a small business.
Virtually every major company, government organization and regulated profession now has established clear guidelines and regulations regarding their digital security protocols, and these rules almost always require the use of encryption to protect data when sending and receiving emails.
The widespread acceptance of both the value of, and the need for, encryption means that companies are now expected to enlist the help of security experts, managed IT services, and other industry resources when it comes to keeping valuable information safe from prying eyes.
While email encryption can certainly help protect your small business against cyber crimes like phishing, hacking, and identity theft, it can also help you remain compliant with legal requirements to keep the information provided to you by customers and clients safe.
Using a trusted email encryption service can provide the legal proof that you’ve done your best to keep up your end of a fiduciary relationship when that partnership involves the use of digital data transmission and emails. Without it, you could face legal action for failing to safeguard your clients’ data.
To learn more about email encryption for small businesses, call us today.