How the GDPR inspired a new approach to email data protection
Why, what and how of email and file transfer security
In this whitepaper, we will delve into the fundamentals of email and file transfer security, while exploring the following topics:
- The increased need for more robust and modern email security solutions;
- A modern and user-friendly solution;
- What securing outbound email and file transfers actually entails;
- Securing outbound emails can help address operational challenges;
- The enhanced value that email security can bring
Practically every organization requires a secure method of sending emails and transferring files to customers or other contacts. There is often, however, a lack of awareness in how best to safeguard that data within the organization, let alone how to exchange information while complying with GDPR and similar regulations.
The needs for strengthening email security can vary significantly within organizations. While some will champion adopting stringent email security practices, others may require more convincing. Many people are simply unaware of the positive impact that enhanced email security measures can bring across an entire organization.
Why email is and will remain important
On average, employees spend over two hours per day, dealing with 130 business emails. The research of the Radicati Institute1 shows that over 300 billion emails are sent per day. With an expected yearly growth of more than 4%, email will remain the pre-eminent form of communication used by organizations for at least the next decade.
Why email is popular and widespread
1. Standardization: Email is built on top of various official, public standards or so-called RFCs, like SMTP, IMAP and many more. Standardizations enable vendors who develop tools with unique features to align to the needs of users without impacting how the recipient receives the communication. This is similar to telephone communication; due to industry standards you can select the provider that suits your needs without consideration for the underlying technology.
2. Simplicity: Most people in developed countries (plus many in emerging ones) have an active email address. Today, the number of email users has already surpassed 4 billion. As the email ecosystem has matured, improving usability has become the central tenet.
3. Habit: Until the emergence of WhatsApp, email was the only digital communication solution available to a mass global audience. Due to its simplicity, it was widely adopted by users and businesses as their primary method of digital communication. Although the limitations of email are well-known, the push to change the status quo is hindered by the fact that changing one’s habits can be extremely difficult to do. This is especially applicable when it also necessitates modifying the behavior of others. That is the case with email where it is both the user and recipient who must adapt. When you need to influence changes in habit outside your own environment, it becomes exponentially more challenging to implement.
1 Email and file transfer security, explained.
According to Gartner2, “Email security refers collectively to the prediction, prevention, detection and response framework used to provide attack and access protection for email”. Or, put simply, anything to prevent data leaks related to the use of email. IT-minded people tend to interpret email as the technology behind it, like SMTP. Preventing data leaks stemming from emails, however, requires looking at email as a ‘use case’; how do various people use it and for what purpose(s)? Of course technology is important, but exists only to support the use case.