Email communication is essential for organizations. Whether it’s for personal or professional use, there is no denying that emails contain sensitive information. Cybercriminals often target email accounts for this very reason. Advanced spam filtering and email encryption are two email security measures discussed in this article. Both can add additional levels of security to your emails and protect data.

What is Email Encryption?

Email encryption works by disguising your data by using a public-key infrastructure. Encryption measures for email include a pair of public and private encryption keys. The public key allows anyone to encrypt a message, and the private encryption key allows only the recipient to decrypt the message. Often, encryption also involves authentication.

There are two types of encryption protocols. Transport-level encryption consists of a faster and easier setup that grants basic protection to plain text data. End-to-end encryption is more difficult encryption that makes it hard to intercept.

Why is Email Encryption Important?

Data breaches happen, and email is one of the most vulnerable parts of your business. The data in an email message can be intercepted and therefore compromised. Email encryption adds a layer of security to information that should not be shared.

Email encryption is required for data compliance. For example, encryption services are required for personal identifying information (PII) for organizations subject to HIPPA standards.

What should be encrypted?

Encryption requirements will vary based on compliance your organization needs to maintain, but in general, the industry standard is that all PII should be encrypted. This can include credit card information, medical information, social security numbers, and court case records.

Encryption should really be applied to both at rest and in transit for all data that should not be publicly accessible. The level of encryption (how strong) is determined by the sensitivity classification of the data.

The level of sensitivity of data is going to be different across various organizations and should be outlined in an organization's security policy. In general, the more sensitive the data, the higher the level of encryption.

An obvious example would be nuclear codes vs. social security numbers: both are very important, but the consequences are different and therefore would require different levels of encryption.

What is Advanced Spam Filtering?

A spam filter is a service feature that filters and quarantines spam emails from a user's inbox. They have become a necessity as cybercriminals often send spam and fishing emails as a primary tactic to lure users into their plans.

Most email services come with a spam level of spam protection, but it is insufficient to protect from many phishing scams. Advanced spam filtering would not only block or quarantine those pesky marketing emails, but also certain attachment types, and some forms of phishing and spearfishing.

Advanced spam filtering technology leverages AI and ML (machine learning) to make decisions. When we say AI, we're talking about using advanced analytics—not to be confused with robots taking over the world. Generally, when you hear AI in cybersecurity, it is leveraging data analytics with learning analytics to make good decisions, similar to how your phone autocorrects your text messages.

An advanced spam filter can also add a level of resiliency: should your email server go down, an advanced spam filter can spin up a temporary email inbox to allow you to access your email through this virtual inbox, reducing your downtime.

How Anteris can help

Once you have the cybersecurity basics in place (MFA, backups, updates/patching, and antivirus), it’s time to think about additional ways to build out cybersecurity. Email encryption and advanced spam filtering are two steps you can take.

If you haven’t already guessed our position on the importance of email encryption (and advanced spam filtering), our answer is yes: both are essential. The question isn’t should you do it, but why haven’t you done it yet?

While we don’t require email encryption for our clients, it comes with a strong recommendation.  Adding it to a current service contract requires a project, but if you are signing on with Anteris, adding it on from the beginning is the easiest and safest option.

Our solution includes both end-to-end email encryption and advanced spam filtering, but also provides continuity. Should your email go down, the spam filter through the provider can create a virtual inbox to allow you to access your email in the event the server goes down. Reach out today to find out how we make technology freeing (and safe), not frustrating.