If your business transmits sensitive information via email, encryption is often required to meet compliance standards. However, if encryption is difficult to use, employees and recipients alike may avoid secure channels and communicate sensitive information insecurely. Email encryption technology must be intuitive for employees to use and easy for recipients to decrypt to encourage adoption. In this article, we explore some of the main issues with email encryption and how to address them to improve the user experience.
Decrypting Messages is Too Difficult
If it’s challenging for recipients to decrypt messages, they go unread or deleted. Most users will not install new software or create new accounts to read an email message. They will delete the message and move on with their day. Encryption technologies like PGP and S/MIME are highly secure, but with that security comes a lack of usability. It’s essential to evaluate the message contents and select a level of encryption corresponding to the message sensitivity.
The User Experience is Poor
If reading encrypted messages requires the user to visit other websites, log in to other accounts, and verify their identity multiple times, it creates a poor user experience that drives individuals outside of secure channels to communicate. This defeats the purpose of using encrypted email and leaves people unsatisfied.
Email Encryption Technology isn’t Error-Proof
How many times have you forgotten to include an attachment when sending an important email? For users who need to send encrypted emails, remembering to type a keyword or press a button to enable encryption introduces risk, interrupts business processes, and generally limits productivity.
How to Improve the Email Encryption Experience
To address some of these issues, let’s look at a few ways that you can improve the email encryption experience for both senders and recipients.
Use TLS Encryption
Instead of using a secure web portal or exchanging S/MIME and PGP keys, use TLS as often as possible to encrypt emails. TLS is sometimes called “invisible encryption” because it provides a barely noticeable encryption experience for recipients. Emails sent with TLS encryption appear just like regular emails in the recipient’s inbox and do not require any additional steps to decrypt. TLS encryption is sufficient for most compliance requirements, including HIPAA, which makes it an excellent choice for many email communications.
Make Encryption Decisions Automatic
TLS is supported by over 80% of email clients, which means it’s appropriate in most situations. But what happens when TLS cannot be supported? For many encryption providers, that means they send the email without any encryption at all. For customers with compliance requirements, this is not an option. By choosing an email encryption provider like LuxSci, you can configure your encryption settings to automatically select a form of encryption that is compatible with the recipient’s email client. For example, if the recipient does not support TLS encryption, the email would be sent to a secure web portal to protect it. Users don’t have to run tests or make the right choice; LuxSci’s tool automatically chooses the right encryption option based on your configuration and the recipient’s settings.
Take Technology Choices out of Employee Hands
Make encryption opt-out instead of opt-in. By encrypting all emails automatically with TLS, employees do not need to decide if an email needs to be secured. As discussed above, TLS provides a user experience just like regular email, so it does not make it more challenging for the recipient to engage with messages. Encrypting all emails as a matter of policy reduces risk and does not slow down workflows.
Administrators can allow users to opt out of encryption if they choose to. This added step requires employees to think carefully about the message contents and ensure they are not sensitive before sending.
Email encryption does not have to be difficult to use. It’s possible to securely exchange information via email without negatively impacting the user experience. To learn more about how LuxSci’s SecureLine email encryption can help you protect sensitive data at scale, contact us today.