5 Reasons Encrypted Email Isn’t As Safe As Secure Messaging

15 May, 2016 by omrisigelman

Today, there are dozens of industries that require organizations to abide by security compliance requirements. In searching for a secure solution to their online communications, most organizations will stick to email, believing that if it’s an encrypted email, it’s sufficient.

There are, however, many problems with email security that most organizations are unaware of — as the term “encrypted email” gives an impression that it would be completely safe. That said, secure messaging is often championed as the better alternative because instant messages offer the ability to send encrypted text messages quickly and attach files securely, while email takes longer and has a low level of security.

1. Encrypted Email Isn’t Truly Encrypted

In a typical unencrypted email, there are several copies (in the sender’s Sent folder, the receivers’ Inbox, clouds…) and the message is sent in clear text. This means, that anyone — beginner hackers included — can locate, intercept, and read the contents of the email.

It’s for this reason, that organizations turn to S/MIME, for example, to protect and secure their email communications. In doing so, however, typical email functionality significantly decreases — employees can no longer search for and retrieve past emails, which is undoubtedly necessary in most professional settings. In response, employees typically put confidential information in the email subject lines, which are still in plain text and searchable, to facilitate locating the email — effectively negating the purpose of encrypted email in the first place.

In secure messaging, on the other hand, the various security layers and lack of exposure to third parties leaves companies less exposed to potential security breaches.

2. Device Security Remains A Problem

Really, encrypting the email only solves part of the problem. If an email is encrypted but the device it lives on is lost or stolen, then the encryption doesn’t serve much purpose anymore. Plus, remember that the encrypted email could be stored in multiple inboxes on multiple local computers.

If, however, the messages were sent with a secure messaging application, such as NURO Secure Messaging, then the messages would be protected from this problem. This is because messages and attachments live only within the application and cannot be downloaded onto the device itself. In addition, the text cannot be copied or pasted either, further discouraging employees from disseminating confidential information.

3. Secure Email Isn’t Centrally Controlled

In relying on an email service provider for communication, the organization is unable to track, control, and backup their employees’ messages. After all, once an email is sent, there’s no way to unsend it, in particular with POP3 based services.

NURO, however, features an Admin Console that provides account managers with a control panel, permission management, cyber security analysis, and cognitive analysis. It permits organization to recover communications easily, without needing to preemptively backup messages. Plus, in case employees abuse communications and are unsafe, organizations are able to track and audit conversations.

4. There Is No Threat Prevention

Encrypted email is pretty one dimensional but secure messaging applications offer tons of features and services designed to uphold business security. NURO, for examples, offers Cognitive Security, a feature that is unique to NURO. It uses artificial intelligence and cognitive computing to predict and prevent security breaches before they occur.  

5. Secure Email Providers Are Often Unreliable

In 2013, Lavabit, a secure email provider that was once used by Edward Snowden, closed its services after being forced to hand over its encryption keys to the federal government, granting them access to all customers’ encrypted emails. In fact, the same thing happened to Silent Circle later that year. It was discovered, at that point, that if businesses and individuals truly want to communicate privately and securely, they’d have to encrypt the emails themselves, without a third-party service. This, of course, is hardly ideal.

NURO offers a simple solution: company sanctioning. NURO uses APIs so that organizations can integrate the secure messaging platform into their existing services, meaning the messages and information shared within the app are owned by the company, not NURO. If, therefore, the federal government knocks on NURO’s door and asks for the encryption keys, NURO wouldn’t be able to cooperate — because we don’t own the information.

In short, organizations should be weary of encrypted email. It lacks several security features, as mentioned above, but fortunately secure messaging platforms solve most of these faults. It has become common knowledge that a majority of businesses might be hacked at some point this year; thus, organizations should continue to take security seriously and do as much as they can to ensure that employee conversations and messages remain safe and secure.