Want to secure your financial services organisation? Email encryption is the key

Zero access encryption

Zero access encryption

If you were a security leader in the financial services industry, where would you leave the key to your office? Would you leave it somewhere only you and those you trust could access it? Or would you leave it on a hook outside, where anyone could steal it, gain entry and steal all of your employee’s possessions and sensitive information?

The answer is obvious. And yet, when it comes to email encryption, some financial services companies use email security solutions that store private encryption keys – the vital line of code that can unlock their email data. All that stands between that firm and a potentially disastrous data breach is someone hacking their servers, leaving the key to unlock all their confidential data exposed.

Businesses in the financial services sector need to think about their emails in the same way they might think about the contents of their offices. Otherwise, they could be leaving themselves vulnerable to costly data breaches and leaks, which according to an IBM report cost financial services organisations around £2.8 million on average per incident in 2020.

But what can companies do to protect their confidential data? To understand the answer, we first need to get a handle on why encryption is so important in the financial services industry, and why it’s crucial to know who’s holding the keys to your encrypted emails.

Benefits of encryption

Protecting emails is about two things – making sure emails aren’t sent to the wrong recipients by accident and making sure they end up with the right recipients safely and without being compromised. Email encryption focuses on the latter, and for the most part it’s all about generating encryption keys – algorithms that scramble your data up and make it completely unreadable, thus protecting your all-important data.

By default, emails aren’t encrypted as they travel from email servers to the recipient. Email encryption disguises the content of emails so that only the intended recipient can read it. This helps organisations maintain data privacy, comply with GDPR rules and prevent identity theft. These areas are top of the priority list for financial services companies, who stand to lose so much more in terms of regulatory fines and reputational damage.

There are different forms of encryption – on the one hand, symmetric encryption uses a single encryption key to encrypt and decrypt data. With asymmetric encryption, emails are encrypted with two different keys that are connected to one another. One of the keys is made publicly available for when you want to send someone an encrypted message, this is called the Public Key. The only way for the recipient to decrypt this encrypted message is with their Private Key.

Whether they are public or private, keys are the basis of a robust email encryption solution. But for many financial services security leaders looking to purchase an email security solution, the question shouldn’t be ‘will my email data be encrypted’. Instead, the question should be ‘will my email data be encrypted, and can I be certain that only me and authorised parties will hold the key to unlocking that data’?

So many email clients and security solutions still store encryption keys, meaning a cyberattack could leave the key to their clients’ data exposed. As malicious actors grow smarter in the way they break through cybersecurity measures, security leaders need to ensure they aren’t just shutting the door on potential cyber threats – they need to lock it, and throw away the key.

Keeping your data under lock and key with Zivver

Financial services companies need the open and transparent communication that email provides to keep their operations running smoothly. However, they don’t need to put the key to their confidential data in the hands of an email security vendor, where it could be stolen or corrupted and used to leak data, commit identity fraud or compromise the company’s entire security network.

This is where Zivver really set itself apart from the crowd. We offer a combination of public and private key encryption, as well as two-factor authentication to ensure only authentic recipients receive emails. So far, so good. But we are also one of the only email security vendors to have zero access to private encryption keys, meaning that we cannot view or reveal encrypted messages. Even if we were held at gunpoint, we couldn’t access the data – only the authorised sender and recipients can – which means it’s impossible for your data to be compromised should the worst happen.

Aside from this rare advantage, Zivver gives security leaders a birds-eye view of the biggest causes and impacts of data leaks, helping them prevent huge financial costs and devastating reputational impacts. Our ultra-secure email security solution catches mistakes we’re all guilty of, whether that’s sending emails to the wrong recipient or attaching the wrong document, and even allows you to recall emails if needed. Even better, the platform works seamlessly with Outlook and Gmail, meaning it provides users with daily protection without interrupting their existing workflow.

Want to find out how you can keep your data under lock and key? Download the Zivver guide to email security in the financial services industry today to learn how to get a bird’s eye view, prevent costly data leaks and secure outbound email once and for all. You can also schedule a free live demo, call +44 20 3285 6300 or email contact@zivver.com.

Written by

Kate O'Neill

Originally published on May 27, 2021

Last update on May 27, 2021