How Email Encryption and Signing Enhance Digital Transformation

Digital transformation projects have never had such a global investment. Employees working from home are having to adapt to new processes, new ways of sharing data and new ways of getting sign-offs while business owners are collectively grappling with ways of making this more secure and retraining staff to avoid a data breach or compliance fine. Here are some of the top areas where email encryption and signing makes digital transformation possible.

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    Enhanced User Experience

    When talking about “user experience”, one can split this by employee experience and customer experience. In the employee experience, good email encryption and signing solution is one that often goes unnoticed. Encryption algorithms are operating in the background without much interference by the employee. When sensitive data is being entered into an email, notifications ensure that employees are aware of the risks and encourages them to include additional authentication such as the use of a passcode.

    The magic of good email encryption and signing solution is the ability for the superuser or admin to whitelist domains, create rules and alert messages which support any security training that users get. Employees should still be able to login to their existing Office365 or GSuite on their desktop and mobile devices in much the same way as they always have done - but they now see new prompts when sending sensitive data and their email security is enhanced by new features such as being able to encrypt PDFs or sign emails.

    For the customers, the customer experience is improved because trust is enhanced. Customers will be impressed to see a company that is paying more attention to the security and encryption of sensitive information such as invoices or other financial statements. Good email encryption and signing tool will make it easy for third-party recipients to see the message contents. 

    Digitising Paper-Based Workflows

    Companies had been moving towards a more digital landscape even before coronavirus but ever since the transition has been accelerated. Employees working from home need a digital way to get sign off on new processes or documents but more importantly, this sign off needs to be digitally trusted.

    Covid-19 has brought to light the many ways in which hackers can exploit these insecure processes. For example, by posing as an employee and replying to email chains with links. This tactic is particularly scary because the normal procedure of reporting a suspicious email by asking the sender doesn’t work. If someone from admin asks the CEO if he really sent that email then of course he will say “yes”, because the email is part of a chain he did know about.

    A much more secure way of ensuring that a sender is really who they say they are is to have every sender within an organisation sign their emails digitally by default. Outlook365 has an email address in the From field and a Signed By field. If the email addresses don’t match, users can check the Signed By field by clicking the ribbon and seeing more information in the digital certificate by clicking “Details”.

    Compliance With Data Protection Laws

    Every company is responsible for managing the data of their employees and their customers. Most data breaches are a result of human error. Some examples of human error include:

    • Employee sending information to the wrong recipient by accident
    • Employee being duped to send information to hackers
    • Hackers accessing mail servers and reading plaintext information such as PDFs
    • Employees uploading sensitive information to a public cloud and sharing links via email which get intercepted by hackers

    All of these examples can be mitigated with good email encryption and signing tool. If employees accidentally send information to the wrong recipient, a recall feature will allow them to quickly recall the message. Or if they have encrypted the sensitive information with a passcode, the recipient will not be able to open it.

    Email signing can help identify senders and mitigate the chances of employees being duped by hackers pretending to be employees. PDF encryption stops hackers from reading the information in plaintext on an email server. Encryption and signing also help determine whether public cloud links are sent by the right person and if the message content is encrypted, it stops hackers from accessing the links.

    With some data protection laws resulting in huge fines for companies that do not comply, it is worth your while to invest in an easy to use email encryption and signing tool.

    Reducing Operational Costs

    Investment in a good email encryption and signing tool can actually save more in operational costs. To factor this into the investment cost, consider the time it takes an organisation to sign things off manually. Consider the costs of paper documents being signed and filed and the administration that goes with it. With email encryption and signing, sign off can happen digitally, without any administration, printed paper documents or administration. All emails are stored electronically and sign off can be attached to email requests as proof.

    Some organisations or procedures require multiple sign-off, for example on large purchases or budget approvals. Multiple sign-off can be handled using digitally signed PDFs whereby each member digitally signs a PDF and forwards it onto the next until the final document contains all the signatures needed to confirm sign off and move the process forward. In the age of remote work, this technology saves time and can speed up business operations.

    Improved Employee Productivity

    While organisations are busy saving time and money with their email encryption and signing tools, they often forget that they also save a great deal of time on administration. Employees no longer have to process documents, chase approvals or redraft errors - everything happens digitally in a fraction of the time.

    This additional time is given back to the employee to use in other areas, thereby increasing the businesses productivity. Wright-Pratt Credit Union in the US estimated that employees spent 22 minutes preparing paperwork for signing, time which was cut 50% by the use of electronic signatures. They also recorded that lenders would spend 45 minutes conducting a loan closing and email signatures were able to make that process happen in no time at all.

    Digital Transformation Made Simpler

    Organisations who are looking to implement more digitised processes and workflows should not be mistaken in thinking that email encryption and signing will solve everything but it does enhance the ability for documents to be sent internally or externally as well as approved, signed off and all the while, deemed secure.

    Email encryption and signing should be at the heart of digital transformation activities because email is the communication centre of the digitised business. The email server is the “data safe” of a business and it cannot be trusted in the wrong hands. That’s why, when looking at email encryption solutions, organisations should not just consider cost, but also features, ease of use, administrative capabilities, localised compliance vs global compliance and the implementation of global, regional and group-based rules, whitelisting and blacklisting.

    Email Encryption and Signing Services by Pie Security

    Now you've understood how email encryption and signing can help enhance your digital transformation process in many different aspects. If you're looking for a provider, we're here to help.

    Pie Security offers no-risk email encryption solution that works with any SMTP compliant email system, including Microsoft Exchange, Google G Suite email and Office 365. Our email encryption products will secure your email and protect messages against unauthorised access, both in transit and at rest.

    Find out how our solutions can help now.

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