Email. We love it. We hate it. We all use it every day. It’s a necessary tool to communicate with the people in both our work and personal lives. (Heck, even my 90-year-old grandma is addicted to email!)
And we take email for granted when it comes to security. Many moons ago, when the Internet was like a quaint small town (it seemed like such a friendly and safe place), and email was first being used, privacy was not a consideration. Today, the Internet is a vast and sometimes scary world, filled with all kinds of characters, including malicious hackers.
Why You Need to Encrypt Your Emails
No matter your industry, you need to start encrypting your emails, including the message and any attachments, and here’s why:
- Data breaches are a real threat. In 2016, there were 1,093 reported data breaches – a whopping 40% increase from the year before. As our technology becomes more sophisticated, so do hackers, and taking security precautions like encrypting your emails is absolutely necessary.
- Your passwords aren’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, you always need to use a strong password to lock your devices and your email account. However, your typical email provider doesn’t automatically encrypt the email message nor the attachment. Without encryption, a person, or more likely, malware, could potentially read your emails.
- Your recipient’s email provider server may not be secured. Even if you know your email provider stores emails securely, that’s only one network that your email passes through. What about your recipient’s email server? It could store messages in plain text, making it easy for anyone (or anything) to read.
- Email encryption protects your content. When you encrypt your emails, the text stored in the message and files are scrambled up both in storage and transit. The only way to unscramble and read the content is to use authorized credentials. Encryption is the only way to fully secure your emails.
How to Encrypt Your Emails
Now that you’re sufficiently freaking out about security, you’re probably wondering how to encrypt your emails. Here are a few ways to get started sending secure emails right away!
Encrypt emails in Gmail. If you’re a Gmail user, you probably love the search feature but hate all of the ads. Those are both products of an unsecured email server. If your business relies on Gmail, have no fear! There are a couple different options depending on what browser you use.
You can also send encrypted attachments using the Kloudless Plugin for Gmail. This plugin automatically converts any attachment into a secure ShareFile link.
Encrypt emails in Outlook. Outlook is in the same situation as Gmail. The email server is not secure, but you can secure each message by following these simple steps:
- When you are composing a message in Outlook, select File > Properties.
- Then click on security settings.
- Within these settings, you can check whether or not to encrypt the message and its attachments.
ShareFile users can use the ShareFile Plugin for Microsoft Outlook. This plugin allows you to encrypt your email in Microsoft Outlook 2007 or later. It just takes one click!
Encrypt emails in Yahoo! To encrypt your Yahoo Mail, use an app like Mailvelope which follows the OpenPGP encryption standard. You can add the Mailvelope extension to your Chrome or FireFox browser.
Encrypt emails for free. ProtonMail allows you to sign up for a free secure email account. Their servers are located in Switzerland, which has some of the strictest privacy and security laws. ProtonMail offers end-to-end encryption, no matter who your recipient is. Keep in mind, there are extra fees involved if you want a custom domain or need more than one account for your business.
Encrypt emails with ShareFile. The ShareFile web app enables you to send encrypted emails directly from your account in any browser – it’s email agnostic! No need to sign up for a separate email address or download any bulky apps. Remember that ShareFile always protects your files with 256-bit AES encryption in storage and transit. After you log in to your account, select the file you wish to send and click “Email with ShareFile”. In the Edit Message Options, check the encrypt email box at the top. Now, your message is just as secure as your file! Give encrypted email from ShareFile a whirl for 30 days for free.
What are you waiting for? Don’t send another email without knowing it will arrive safely and securely in the right hands (or thumbs).