An email has been the harbinger for all types of communication in every business. No one can ignore or sacrifice the reliability, economy, and mobility of the messages received in their inboxes.
The first thing that pops to mind while speaking about email is popular services like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. While they all are great for sending and receiving web messages, they have a common drawback.
They don’t provide end-to-end encryption to protect messages in transit.
It’s not a significant problem with any casual messages you send. However, the problem arises if your communication includes sensitive information like social security, credit card, account numbers, or other top-secret company data.
It’s because all it takes is a single slick to expose this sensitive information. This is why email encryption is so important and should be a part of your business security plans. Sending a secure email is different than anonymous emails.
What exactly is email encryption?
Email encrypting is nothing but the conversion of email messages into a secret code to prevent unauthorized access and better privacy. It’s done to protect your sensitive content from being read by other entities except for the intended recipient. It may include authentication.
It’s necessary because most messages are transmitted in a clear form. There is a chance of other people than the designated recipient using specific tools to read its contents. You can understand its implications better if you picture it as an algorithm poking and prodding through your sensitive data like love notes and doctor appointments!
Email encrypting uses public-key cryptography, where users use a public key to code messages. They, however, keep and use a secret private key to decrypt the messages. Private keys digitally encrypt and sign messages before sending them.
Benefits of email encryption
Now you know the importance, read the following main benefits.
Protects private information
With so much private, sensitive and secret information exchanged over messages, only the intended recipient must see it. Remember, even your ‘secret password and username’ can be easily accessed and stolen by hackers.
An email encrypting server prevents hackers from decrypting this secret information and misusing it.
There is no need to buy any additional software or hardware. There are so many services that can be trusted to secure your information at a cost-effective rate.
Many industries have rules to be followed when it comes to communication. For example, a patient’s information should be kept confidential and not shared without the patient’s consent. So a hacker getting hold of the information will be considered a violation. Encrypting emails helps prevent these documents from falling into the wrong hands.
Popular secure email services
Now that you know their benefits and why you should use them instead of standard providers like Gmail, you naturally want to know more about the available options.
Based out of Switzerland, Proton Mail reserves the top spot among all encrypted email services.
Proton’s founders are scientists, and the company has many products, including their world-class Proton VPN, making them top-notch privacy advocates.
Proton Mail, their flagship product, is an end-to-end encrypted mail service that you can also use to send password-protected emails to recipients having their inboxes with Gmail, Hotmail, etc.
Some noteworthy features include:
- Strong phishing & tracking protection
- Optional custom domain name
- Missing attachment warning
- Dark mode availability
- Free email with paid plans
- Android, iOS, and web apps
And you can have all of this without paying a penny with their forever-free tier. However, the best way to maximum digital privacy is by combining every Proton service: mail, calendar, VPN, and drive.
Hushmail is a popular, secure email provider based in Vancouver, Canada, launched in 1999. It, with its Delaware US-based parent company, has an excellent reputation for providing reliable mail functionality.
- OpenPGP encryption
- State-of-the-art encrypting methods
- Unlimited mail aliases to mask the online identity
- IMAP, POP support
- Imports compacts from CSV file
- Auto-responder and spam filter
- Able to send encrypted emails to other providers
Hushmail offers a special solution for businesses like healthcare, law firms, and small businesses to comply with HIPPA requirements.
Tutanota is a secure email service provider launched in 2011 in Germany, which has strong privacy laws. It is a serious and reliable service run by a team of privacy enthusiasts. They plan to become the privacy-respecting Google alternative with their encrypted calendar, cloud storage, and notes.
- Anonymous signup without phone number or any identifiable data
- It uses a hybrid encrypting system instead of a PGP
- Protected by the GDPR and other pro-privacy EU regulations
- Encrypt even subject line and address book and store in German servers
- Strips emails of IP address to prevent logging
- Sends encrypted emails to even non-Tutanota users
- Custom folders help organize messages
There are no ads, even in the FREE plan.
Mailfence is a fully dedicated, privacy-focused webmail service provider based in Belgium and has been following Belgium’s strong privacy protection law since 1999.
It provides users with deserved security through end-to-end encrypting. The browser-based service’s two-factor authentication system adds additional safety to your account with zero trackings of personal data.
- Encryption with digital signatures using OpenPGP keys
- Supports all popular mail protocols like SMTP, IMAP, and POP
- Spam blocker
- Includes calendars, document storage, and contact management
- Show authorship through digital email signatures
If you are looking for a business purpose, you may want to for a paid plan that offers emails on a custom domain.
Zoho mail is a great platform offering powerful features perfect for business and personal use. With the powerful control panel, you can configure and set up your organization’s email policies.
- Automates tiring tasks and creates rules for managing incoming emails
- The advanced search helps to find messages quickly
- The scrub feature helps delete or archive webmails in bulk
- Selects specific folders for notifications
- Create reusable mail templates
- Control and manage specific team members’ mailbox access
- Highly secured data centers with physical security and DDOS protection
- Unlimited groups with attractive collaboration features
You can read and send emails using mobile apps or on the web. Zoho offers an enterprise-ready solution.
Useful email encryption tools
It’s not only encrypted email providers that prevent algorithms from poking into your sensitive data and information. There are also quite a few tools to use with your existing email services.
Mesince is an email client for Android, iOS, and Windows. It is programmed to automatically configure a free encrypting certificate for its user to code every outgoing message. It ensures internet communication for optimal online privacy protection. Only the recipient with a private key corresponding to the public key can decipher and read the message. Anyone without the corresponding key only sees jumbled text.
Preveil Email works with Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail. Email content and attachments are encrypted on your device, which is decrypted only on the recipient’s device. If you wish to use their mobile app, then you take advantage of instant notification and biometrics authentication. But no worries, if you can’t, you can use their web version.
CipherMail was formerly known as DJIGZO and is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is an open-source centrally managed mail server that codes and decodes emails at the gateway.
It is an android application that sends and receives S/MIME digitally signed and encrypted messages through an Android smartphone.
- Supports S/MIME, OpenPGP, PDF, and TLS encrypted email
- Hardware security module (HSM) for additional privacy
- A built-in certificate authority (CA)
- Integrated data leak prevention (DLP) module prevents information leaks
- Generates self-signed certificates for private PKI
Mailevelope is based in Germany; It securely protects your sensitive data to ensure no unauthorized person, even the provider, reads any data in transit. You can use it to send messages with your current email address securely.
It’s an open-source solution, and you can get it started for FREE. However, you may want to go for a paid plan for a business if you are interested in integrating Google Workspace, GDPR compliant, support, etc.
That’s about it.
You, by now, know all about email encryption and its benefits. You also know about the different options to send secure emails. So there now shouldn’t be any other reason for you’re not considering shifting to using encrypted emails for added privacy too!
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