To Encrypt or Not to Encrypt?

In the age of increasing cyber attacks on your personal data, security measures have to keep up with the progress of hacking methods. That’s why the trend of email encryption is taking over and some companies even made a name by offering encrypted email services. In this article, we will dive into why and how you should use encryption, what does encrypting an email do, and whether you need encryption at all.
We will also cover encryption services and email services that have encryption features built in from the start.

What is email encryption and how does it work?

While there is a transport-level encryption (TLS) that encrypts emails throughout the delivery process and also a digital signature (DKIM) that prevents attackers from altering the contents of your message or spoofing your address.

Both of these mechanisms are extremely helpful but we are going to focus on end-to-end email encryption. In eM Client you can select this option during the initial account setup or create an encryption key pair. End-to-end encryption means that the data are encrypted and decrypted only at the sender's and recipient’s sides so the message is already encrypted before it is sent and it is decrypted only after it is delivered. In the case of eM Client, S/MIME and PGP encryption is used.

What does encrypted email mean?

The idea is very simple, you create public and private keys. Then use your private key to encrypt the outgoing messages and share the public key with the recipient. The recipient then uses your public key to decrypt messages and the same procedure has to be repeated by them when they are in the role of the sender. Once the public keys were exchanged by the parties involved in communication, they can send encrypted email messages to each other without being worried about the safety of the contents. Some email and messaging applications automated this process which means all messages are encrypted by default, some will give you the option to encrypt all communication or just individual messages in case you don’t need/want to use it when there are no sensitive data in play. For detailed info on these encryption mechanisms, follow this link.

How can I start using email encryption?

End-to-end type of encryption is used by most communication apps/services- if you are using Microsoft 365, message encryption is available in the Outlook app through S/MIME, eM Client has a PGP and S/MIME certificate encryption. eM Client is currently available as a desktop app for Windows and Mac, iOS and Android app is in the development stage. Outlook encrypted mail can be used on Windows and Mac too, a mobile version is available as well and there’s even a webmail.

There are also webmail services like Proton Mail, Zix secure email or Posteo that built their brand by offering strong encryption as a default aside from other security-oriented features. As a bonus, eM Client can connect to Proton Mail servers if you have an account and download the public key on demand.

If you prefer to have a dedicated encryption service you can also use Voltage email encryption which is solely focusing on email encryption with IBE(Identity Based Encryption) technology. It is a product that is mostly aimed at companies that want a solution for secure email communication without the hassle of managing it or building a costly infrastructure from scratch. Since it is a cloud-based service with end-to- end encryption you can use it regardless of the platform. It is available through a web interface, as an Outlook add-on, and you can download iOS and Android apps too.

Encrypt email Outlook

Outlook offers advanced email security features to ensure the confidentiality of sensitive information to achieve secure email Outlook. With Office 365 encrypted email capabilities, users can confidently send encrypted email. Outlook encryption - by leveraging it, data remains safeguarded during transmission, making it suitable for handling sensitive documents and personal data.
There are two implementations of this encryption technology in Outlook - S/MIME encryption and Microsoft 365 Message Encryption, which is included in Office 365 Enterprise E3 license. Both types of encryption can be used via the Encrypt button, but the S/MIME option is only visible if you have S/MIME certificate configured in Outlook.

Gmail encryption

Can you send encrypted email in Gmail? Gmail automatically encrypts all email communication via TLS, but the actual S/MIME encryption of the emails is available only for paid Google accounts. Therefore, if users want to send encrypted emails through Gmail, they would need to use third-party encryption tools or add-ons to ensure the security and privacy of their messages. It is crucial for Gmail users who require a higher level of security and want to send secure email Gmail to explore external encryption solutions to safeguard their sensitive information effectively, for example via an external email app to achieve their Gmail secure email dreams.

The importance of email encryption

While as an individual you might not be using email to share sensitive data but if you are running a company it is an absolute necessity. If you are sending emails where you are discussing which type of dog food to buy, it isn’t the type of data that might be of interest to anyone and their leak most likely won’t harm you in any way unless your entire mailbox has been hacked. However, that is a completely different scenario and topic.

When you are sending your personal data, payment details, contracts, lists with customer contacts, and so on, it is in your interest to protect those data, the potential leak may harm you personally or the company you own/work at.

The consequences might be severe but that’s why it’s worth using encryption as a prevention, we hope this article helped you understand encryption benefits and how to encrypt email communication using various apps/services.

eM Client allows you to encrypt all your messages, including gmail encrypt email, since the messages get encrypted inside the app and then just sent through your email provider - they do not need to be able to read or encrypt the messages themselves to send it to your recipient. Try eM Client today.