Are your email attachments secure?

Aug 20th, 2013 / Category: Email Encryption

While there are countless critical components to a successful business, communication is undoubtedly near the top of the list. An organization's employees need to be able to communicate easily and at any time with one another as well as individuals and entities outside the business. And they must be able to share important, large documents and other files just as readily.

Obviously, email has emerged as one of, if not the, most useful means of meeting these needs for businesses in just about every industry. Emails are convenient and ideal for many types of communication. For these reasons, today's employees are spending hours every day sending, receiving and reading emails.

On the surface, this is not a problem for businesses. In fact, it is a positive sign that their employees are communicating so effectively. Such interaction is essential for high-quality, effective collaboration.

However, there is a serious issue here which is often overlooked by company leaders and decision-makers: security. It is not uncommon for businesses to simply assume that their email solutions are protected, when in reality this is not always the case. And considering the information that is being shared via email, this oversight can be extremely costly.

That is why businesses need to take the time and effort to ensure that they are using secure file sharing solutions when it comes to email attachments.

Attachments matter
As email applications have become more sophisticated and powerful, the types and sizes of attachments have expanded. In the past, email clients could accommodate only relatively limited attachments, if any at all. Now, on the other hand, it is easy for workers to attach documents, images, videos, audio files and folders full of data.

Understandably, then, employees are frequently making use of these options as they strive to work effectively with their colleagues, clients and customers.

But this is risky. After all, the data attached to email files is often extremely sensitive in nature. Employees will frequently attach customer financial data to emails, sending this information to various necessary departments. Even more commonly, these attachments will consist of intellectual property which, if exposed, could seriously hamper a firm's ability to compete in its given industry.

It is important to note that intellectual property is not comprised solely of product designs and trade secrets. While these are undoubtedly examples of intellectual property, there are many other types of internal information that needs to be protected. These include marketing strategies, client lists, revenue figures and any other information that a company would rather keep private. If this data becomes public, competitors may be able to leverage such insight to optimize their own strategies, undermining the original firm's effectiveness.

Fortunately, businesses can greatly reduce the risk of such an exposure occurring by investing in high-quality secure email solutions. By specifically seeking out such an option, businesses can make sure that employees are able to attach files of all kinds without increasing the risk that sensitive information will fall into unauthorized hands.

Specifically, companies should look for email solution providers that offer a system in which attachments pass through a separate, secure server which can ensure these files remain protected while in movement.

However, it is critical for companies to make sure that the secure file sharing solutions they are considering are not only reliable, but also easy to use. If this is not the case, then some employees will almost certainly turn to less secure but more convenient file sharing options, thereby undercutting the data protection value of the selected email solution.