For Your Eyes Only: The Best Email Encryption and Privacy Tactics
What’s the most effective email security policy? One that employees will actually use. It’s startling how many well-thought-out email policies are circumvented by employees who just want to set up a meeting or send a file, and don’t want to jump through hoops. After all, we’ve heard that even high government officials have been known to sidestep email precautions when the requirements became onerous. But there are ways to enforce email security policies that are transparent to your employees, starting with data leak protection and email encryption solutions—but it doesn’t end there.
Here Are Some Best-Practices for Email Encryption and Privacy Tactics That Your Company Should Be Aware Of:
Everyone agrees that email data leak protection and encryption are essential to protect confidential business information. But for employees, it often seems like just another obstacle on the way to doing their jobs. What they don't know is that most states require confidential information to be encrypted when sending via email. A business, whether an enterprise or SMB, should always have the employees’ goals in mind when rolling out new email procedures. These policies should be transparent and easy to use.
A business with a good understanding of its own workforce should be able to anticipate potential problems before implementing company-wide email best practices and secure technology. Questions to keep in mind include:
- Will this technology support mobile employees?
- Does it integrate with your current email platform?
- Is data encryption automatic, or will employees have to select to encrypt their correspondence?
- Is the technology “smart”; i.e. can your system identify and restrict confidential information, with or without attachments?
Employee Security Training
All employees have sat through security training, received reminder emails from HR or IT, and signed off on policies, indicating they understand them. Insecure emails are still sent, and breaches still occur. Employees need to see examples of what happens when confidential data is inadvertently released because of inadequate attention to security procedures. They need to understand that they bear a professional and personal responsibility for those when they occur. And they need to be able to ask questions, during the initial roll-out and after. But they also deserve simple, easy-to-follow procedures that encourage them to stay secure.
Secure & Productive Email Features
If the secure messaging implementation ties into how employees do their jobs, it is more likely to get used consistently. Most employees genuinely do want to be productive. Here are a few considerations when adding features:
- Employees need to be able to send secure emails with their phone or other mobile devices. It’s just a fact of life that most emails are now sent and received on the go.
- Employees should feel confident that they aren’t taking inadvertent risks. A well-implemented system will reassure them that they are compliant, and need take no further steps.
- Employees should never wonder if they succeeded in sending their secure email, particularly if it's time-sensitive. Timestamp confirmation can notify them that their recipient has acted on the email.
Use Both Push and Pull to Achieve Compliance
Push your employees on security, encryption, and privacy. Then deploy an encrypted email solution in a way that's easy to learn and follow. Your employees are your most important asset. Help them do their jobs in the most secure way possible, and they will help you achieve compliance. If you're looking to upgrade your email security standards, reach out for a free business IT consultation.