Every year, hackers become more adept at stealing personal information online. This information usually includes email addresses, credit card numbers, addresses and login passwords.
Despite the very real risk, e-mail security is often overlooked by businesses. Smaller companies are especially at risk, as they may lack network security and email encryption software to prevent data security breaches.
What is Encryption?
Encryption is a process in which emails are coded in a way that make the email unreadable to anyone but the intended recipient. This is especially helpful when sending email over unknown or unsecured servers.
How does that work? In layman terms, the process is fairly simple, but very effective. The publishers of encryption software provide a public key and a private key to users. The public key is shared with everyone, but the private key is not. The recipient of an encrypted email must also have encryption-enabled software with their own private key to read the email.
What Are the Risks of Unsecured E-Mail?
In August of 2014, Hold Security, of Milwaukee Wisconsin, discovered a security breach which allowed Russian hackers to steal over a billion passwords from both private users and businesses. This is only the most recent case in a string of hacks that have occurred with increasing frequency in the past decade.
Hackers can pose a very real threat in terms of online personal information. Emails are especially vulnerable, as they may contain passwords, credit card numbers or addresses which a hacker can sell on the online “black-market”. An email which has not been encrypted is no different than a letter sent by mail. It can be opened and read by anyone.
Why Use Encryption For E-Mail?
There are many reasons for businesses to use encryption when sending email between employees, clients or other companies, including:
- Increased security from outside hacking attacks
- Keeping sensitive information, such as addresses and credit card numbers, private
- Encryption ensures that if the email is accidentally sent to a wrong address, information in the email cannot be stolen or misused
- Employees and clients may both feel more confident knowing information is being protected by the company
E-mail security is an absolute must for all companies, no matter the size, in the online world. There are multiple software and built-in email encryption options available to increase data security and ensure email privacy.