Email or electronic mail has effectively revolutionized workplace communications. Faxes are practically non-existent now-a-days, and sorting through stacks of paper mails to root out the unimportant garbage is no longer a problem. Although there is spam in electronic mail, employees can easily categorise communications, block content/senders, and even respond automatically to emails. However, maintaining the security of the communication and the integrity of sensitive data has become a challenge these days. Encrypted emails thus have become an integral part of IT security solutions for business. Before sending another important mail, read on to find out how end-to-end email encryption can provide the security businesses look for while communicating.
Email Encryption and How Does It Work?
Encryption guarantees that only the intended recipients would be able to decipher and read the substance of an email. If an unencrypted email gets intercepted by a hacker, then the information shared in the mail gets compromised. But, if the mail is encrypted, then only those who have the “decryption key” would be able to decipher and read the email. It is like putting a number lock on the email. Only the people with whom the combination of the lock is shared would be able to open the lock. The term "end-to-end email encryption" refers to this form of encryption. Now let’s see how the encryption works:
• Suppose Mr X needs to share a sensitive information to Mr Y via an email.
• Both of them generate their respective “private” and “public” keys and exchange only the “public” key with each other.
• Mr X encrypts the message with Mr Y’s public key, and sends the email.
• Upon receiving the email, Mr Y decrypts the message using his private key.
Why is end-to-end email encryption necessary?
You might be doing your entire business operations from the cloud and avoid storing sensitive information in the hard drives of the office systems. No doubt that is a good decision as data security and privacy in cloud computing is far better than those provided by local servers. However, that still doesn’t make you completely immune to ransom ware and malware attacks. Even if you are using cloud services like Google Cloud or Microsoft Office 365, a smart hacker can still intercept your sensitive information as your data moves to-and-fro the cloud. Although, data security and privacy in cloud computing provided by reputable providers is quite strong, the aforementioned situation has happened at times. An end-to-end email encryption adds another layer of protection, so that even if the mail gets intercepted, the hacker won’t be able to decrypt the message. It’s like having the lock, without knowing it’s combination.
Email attacks which compromises the IT security solutions for business
People, records, information and access can all be harmed by email attacks. Let us take a look on the variety of attacks which can harm a business or (and) a person.
1. Identity Theft: The email you use generally logs you in automatically to numerous other platforms, both work related and for personal use. If your email gets hacked, hackers will sift through your personal and work data, then infiltrate co-worker accounts compromising both your official and personal information. The misuse of that information and your online identity would then solely remain at their mercy.
2. Phishing: It is an internet fraud in which hackers impersonate legitimate organisations via email, text messages, advertisements, and other methods in order to steal confidential information. There are mainly 3 variants like pharming, deceptive phishing, and spear phishing. By modifying the IP address associated with a legitimate website, a threat actor redirects users to a malicious website. Deceptive phishing targets users with the intent of obtaining money. This threat towards the IT security solutions for business can be avoided through encryption as it allows users to identify malicious emails.
3. Virus Attacks: The email isn't the immediate object of a virus; rather, it serves as the entry point for attackers to penetrate and disable a company's IT security solutions. Many malicious emails have virus-infected attachments. The virus is enabled when an unwitting user opens and installs the attachment.
Email encryption and the benefits it offers to reduce data vulnerability
When consumers or clients entrust a business with their data and documents, a single data breach can devastate the reputation of the organisation by shattering the confidence of the clients. Let us look at the benefits of end-to-end email encryption which helps to avoid data vulnerability.
1. Privacy: The main aspect of any IT security solutions for business is ensuring the triad of CIA, which is also known as Confidentiality, Integrity and Accessibility. Encryption of emails does just that. It ensures the confidentiality of the mail with the help of the private and public keys. The Integrity is ensured as anyone who does not possess the keys won’t be able to decrypt the data. The Accessibility is maintained as even if the email gets intercepted by an unauthorised user or hacker, the lack of the decryption key would maintain the safety of the information.
2. Cost-effective: With encrypted emails being one of the characteristics of email services, businesses no longer need to invest on a separate server for encryption purposes.
3. Efficiency: The responsibility of encrypting the emails lies on the shoulder of the email provider, relieving employees of an additional responsibility. Employees can write and transfer messages more easily instead of going through a multi-step method of safely attaching files, thus increasing their efficiency.
Encryption compliance laws in India
In India, there are no specific encryption clauses in the Indian Penal Code. However, a range of sectorial laws, such as those governing the banking, insurance, and telecommunications sectors, provide requirements for minimum encryption standards that should be used to secure transactions. Section 84A of the National Policy of Encryption allows the government to set encryption standards and methods to protect electronic communications.
See Also - Why is Data Backup a Complete Requirement ?