Estimates are that around 144 billion emails are sent a day globally by 2.1 billion users and demands are growing for those handling sensitive information to take increased steps to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands.
In the US, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano recently admitted not using email because of security concerns, while in the UK the Information Commissioners Office, which has the power to levy penalties of up to 500,000 for security breaches, has fined organisations from police forces to the NHS for being lax on data security.
In the UK, some insurance companies are avoiding email dangers by even switching back to fax for sending documents.
New cloud-based Mkryptor is a low cost and easy to use email encryption solution across devices from PCs and Macs to smartphones. It is expected to help raise the pressure on professionals in many different sectors to tighten up email security amid growing concerns that at present they do not take it seriously enough. Mkryptor is already being successfully used by some in the IT industry, recruitment companies, accountants, law firms, and private medical practitioners.
Mkryptor (www.mkryptor.com) requires no software or special keys at the recipient end. No extra software is required on either the sender or recipient device and now with the cloud based version that is a simple few clicks process. Prices start at 9.99 for cloud and whole organisations can be protected from as little as a 5k one off fee.
In the UK, the Information Commissioners Office believes email users should always consider encryption of sensitive material but professional bodies are routinely e-mailing confidential client advice and unsecured information. This can add to the risk of identity theft, loss of intellectual property and ultimately litigation against the offender who sent the data unprotected.
Simon Freeman, Director of Fresh Skies/Mkryptor, describes this inactivity as madness.
Freeman points out that many professionals across a wide range of sectors appear to be content to merely append disclaimers at the bottom of e-mails. Many parts of industry are getting to grips with the problem but there are still those who remain exposed and also consider it OK to expose their customers in terms of confidentiality risk.
Think about how ridiculous this is, he claims. You would not think it OK to not bother putting locks on your doors of your house to prevent a burglary, but instead put up a small sign in the house saying ‘in case you find yourself inside my house without permission please do not steal anything and leave immediately’.
Freeman adds: Which will be the responsible authority that will come to their senses and stop the madness. Who will legislate and make sure we all wear the proverbial e-mail helmets? The regulators out there are doing a very poor job.
The Financial Services Authority does and is starting to get some traction among the organisations that it covers, but by and large the Government is silent and inactive.
We used to drive cars without seat belts often with our children in. We used to ride motorbikes without helmets and we used to be allowed to smoke indoors in public places. Likewise we will soon look back and see how crazy it was to send confidential information by unencrypted email.
For many, that statement will come after a career ending e-mail incident or when your business folds under the legal costs and reputational damage of such privacy or confidentiality breach. Madness. What were we thinking? Next time you send confidential information by email unprotected ask yourself what you are going to tell your customer if their data turns up on the internet somewhere?
The concept of email encryption is not new but existing encryption products fail the usability test as they were designed by software designers who didnt think to make them simple enough for the average user and client. The result, few people use the existing products and email communication remains insecure.
Says Freeman: Mkryptor delivers you peace of mind by ensuring that your companys confidential information stays that way; it not only lowers your risk of non-compliance to data protection legislation and upcoming EU data protection legislation, but also provides a clear audit trail. And it takes just a few seconds to use.