Email Encryption Software Overview
What is Email Encryption Software?
Email Encryption Software disguises content within email messages so that they cannot be read by anyone apart from the intended recipient. Emails are typically encrypted and then decrypted by means of a digital signature mechanism that uses public and private keys. The public key is shared with everyone while the private key is kept private.
There is a range of related security features that frequently accompany email encryption software. For instance, many vendors pair encryption with Data Loss Protection or package it within a broader secure email gateway. Other providers offer an all-in-one email hosting and managed security service, allowing companies to outsource the entire email management process.
Email encryption and compliance
Email encryption software is increasingly deployed to maintain regulatory compliance. Email encryption has become a necessary tool for ensuring that companies don’t violate a growing list of regulations around sensitive information and data protection rules. For instance, medical regulations like HIPAA have made email encryption standard practice in that field when working with sensitive patient information. Broader regulations like GDPR also incentivize extra caution among enterprises and smaller organizations alike.
Some email encryption software is tailored to serving these regulatory needs. Some vendors may offer their secure email solutions to at-risk organizations like healthcare providers, while others may offer additional support around compliance reporting and auditing.
Email Encryption Software Features & Capabilities
All email encryption software includes the ability to secure email communications between the sender and receiver. The extended capabilities that each product has beyond the core function will vary more, but will frequently include:
Support for internal and external users
Integration with existing email infrastructure
Continually improving cryptography
Mobile device support
Policy and identity-based encryption
Encryption also usually includes authentication where the user is obliged to prove his or her identity by using a username and password combination in order to get access. More recently biometrics (fingerprints or eye retina recognition) is used instead of username and password, making it more difficult for hackers to break into computer systems.
Email Encryption Solutions Comparison
To compare different email encryption solutions, consider these factors:
Point solution vs. security suite: Some products offer more specific data transmission-focused security, such as encryption and DLP. Other vendors package a much broader set of features, from secure email gateways to end-to-end hosted security. The former situation may be appropriate to organizations with very specific encryption needs around specific kinds of data, or around just emails specifically. Other companies may prefer a suite option if they require broader security features.
Regulatory compliance: Some organizations, such as those in the medical industry, are driven to email encryption primarily to stay compliant with various regulations. These users require very specific security features and processes. However, they may not require the same broad range of security that other organizations need. Some email encryption vendors tailor their encryption services to meet these specific requirements without forcing organizations to pay for unnecessary capabilities.
Email encryption or all-in-one email service: The other type of suite available is a vertical suite that encompasses all email-related capabilities. These products host the email inboxes and data management as well as handling encryption needs. Other products focus on integrating with existing email services, like Gmail or Outlook. Buyers should consider whether they want to adopt a new system as a whole, or layer an email encryption software over their existing infrastructure.
While some email tools have built-in encryption capabilities, standalone encryption tools cost between $10 and $100 per month. Pricing varies depending on the scope of capabilities offered and the number of users.