3 ways to avoid email security dangers

  • Email is one of the most important communication methods in the business world.

  • Email encryption can help keep information safe and secure, while integrating seamlessly into your solution.

Email is one of the oldest electronic communications methods that is still in use, having been a primary way of getting in touch with people by computer for several decades. Despite it’s age, email is still one of the most important communication methods we have in the business world. As some people know all too well, in-boxes are increasingly becoming the place where nearly everything gets done.

However, partially because of it’s age and the way that it works, email may not necessarily be the best way for everyone to communicate. Here are three things to know about helping keep your information safe and secure. 

1. Email is not safe

Email is sent over networks in what is called, “plain text,” which means that anyone who is spying on your Internet traffic can see every email you’re sending and receiving. For business users, even those on ethernet or using Wi-Fi with a security key, this can be a huge risk, especially if confidential information, documents, passwords, photos, and more are being shared between people via email.

While all of this means that email can be one of the least secure methods of sharing information, it doesn’t have to be so.

2. Encryption 101

When you have valuables you want safely secured, you take them to the bank and get a safety deposit box. Your valuables now live at the bank, and only you have the key to get in. If you lose that key, you may never be able to see those valuables again.

Encryption works in much the same way. First, you need your valuables to encrypt—photos, documents, email messages, text messages, or any other form of electronic communication. Then, your encryption software takes a unique password that only you know and “encrypts” your file or message. What was once, say, a document, now appears to be unreadable garbage when you try to open it up in your word processing software. When you want to get your document back, you have to use your key (password) to unlock it.

I won’t lie: sending and receiving encrypted email is more difficult than what you may be used to. After all, now that you know how email works, you probably understand that you can’t just send or receive messages as you please, as some email may not be safe to send if it hasn’t been encrypted.

3. Staff training

Another problem facing businesses considering email encryption is the training aspect. Not only will there be new software for employees to learn how to use, there will also need to be training to help employees identify when and why to use email encryption instead of sending messages in plain text.

Ideally, an email encryption solution for your business will be easy to use and will integrate seamlessly with the rest of your email infrastructure. Services like AT&T’s Secure Email Gateway Service [!] can be dropped into your existing infrastructure and make it easy for employees to start sending encrypted messages right away. 

What do you think? Are there potentially dangerous uses of email at your workplace where sensitive or confidential information might be leaked to third parties? Do you have additional questions about encrypted email, and when the best time to use it in your business might be? Leave a comment in the section below, and I’ll be sure to reply.


Mario Armstrong, Digital Lifestyle Expert, is an Emmy Award winning tech commentator for the TODAY show, CNN, HLN and Fuse. An entrepreneur by nature, Mario made his passion his career by quitting his day job and founding Mario Armstrong Media. Follow Mario at@MarioArmstrong. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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