The subject of email security seems to come up almost every day in the news. Whether it’s sensitive information mistakenly sent to the wrong users, or hackers gaining access to an organisations messages, the lack of security for email is an ongoing headache. Email is definitely convenient, but security was just not part of its original design.
Despite its problems, many successful organisations are increasing their email usage. And as a result, they’re able to increase efficiencies and gain a significant edge over their competitors. So just how are these organisations using email to achieve these results?
Quite simply, they’ve given a boost to their email system, such as Microsoft Exchange, Aol Desktop Gold and Outlook, by adding an email security solution. This isn’t email security in the sense of protection against viruses and spam. Those are important, too. But this security encrypts sensitive content, tracks its delivery, allows secure communication between people and processes, and enables data exchanges to meet the demands of auditors and regulators.
In the past, email encryption meant complexity for end users and nightmares for administrators. While early solutions looked good on paper, they proved too difficult to use in the real-world. Fortunately, email encryption has evolved in a variety of ways, bringing ease of use to desktop and mobile users, and providing organisations with improvements in efficiency, productivity and compliance with privacy regulations. Here are a few examples of how these modern systems can bring benefits to your organisation.
Many organisations handle sensitive data about their customers or employees, and are required by law to protect it. Often this information relates to healthcare, financial, or human resource-related matters. When communicating this data to the user or a partner, such as an outsourced service provider, regulations require that it be protected while in transit. Standard email can’t be used due to its lack of security, and fax is often impractical, so the choice is typically postal mail or express delivery. As a result, the organisation is locked into a process that is outdated, costly and inefficient, which leads to poor performance. By implementing email encryption, the organisation can communicate this data instantaneously and receive proof that it was securely delivered. And at only pennies per delivery, it is an easy way to improve the bottom line through reduced costs, faster workflows, and accelerated revenue recognition.
Organizations that staff a support department are well aware of the cost and complexity of handling incoming customer requests. Part of the problem is that requests may come in by phone, fax, and postal mail, each of which require re-keying information. And they are time-consuming, error prone and labor intensive. Adding a “Contact Us” form on a website is sometimes the answer, but due to a lack of security, a disclaimer is typically added warning users not to include sensitive information in the form. Some email encryption systems have evolved to allow customers and outside parties to initiate a secure message into the organisation. Typically, this is accomplished through a web page, allowing the user to submit sensitive information needed to resolve their issue, and securely transmitting the data to the agent or department that can handle the request. Recently, a credit union with about 300 employees implemented this secure inbound method and was able to redeploy three customer service staff to other positions due to increased efficiency.
With all of the media attention associated with internet security breaches, customers need assurances that the companies they transact with value their relationship and will safeguard their data. Providing customer facing employees with email encryption, and allowing customers to securely submit data to the organisation goes a long way toward strengthening this trust. A recent survey by the Osterman Group, a leading industry analyst, showed nearly 50% of consumers would consider switching to a different bank that allowed them to correspond through secure email.
Attracting a New Generation of Customers
Customers are increasingly becoming mobile and always connected. They’re used to getting answers quickly, whether through internet search or social media, and will gravitate toward organizations that fit into their pace and lifestyle. Secure email allows these users to quickly interact with the organisation, and provides a significant differentiator when compared to companies that haven’t yet modernised.
Successful organizations need to be nimble and continually look for ways to innovate and be more competitive. Modernising legacy processes is a key part of this task. It’s nice to know that tried and true email can still be an integral part of the process. That is, of course, as long as email security is added to the mix