It may be hard to believe, but email has now been around for longer than probably most of the people reading this. The first networked email system was created in 1971 and the essence of electronic mail was around at least five years before that. The email inbox has definitely become a central tool in today’s business world, which is why you might be surprised to learn how insecure the medium is. Thankfully, there are steps you can take, and IT support experts in LA can help you address the situation.
Email is Not Secure by Design
Sure, you’ve probably made sure your computer or device is secure. You always lock the desktop. You’ve used a strong password to secure entry to your email client. Those are excellent steps, but the reality is that the emails you send and receive are not secure.
The old standard for email is SMTP (Sendmail Transport Protocol) and POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3). Email clients connect to email servers via SMTP to send mail and via POP3 to receive email.
The problem with standard SMTP/POP3 is that the connections aren’t encrypted. So, every time your email client connects to the email server, your login, password, as well as emails are sent over the network in clear text.
A slightly more modern way for email clients to connect to email servers is IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). IMAP is commonly used to connect devices to popular webmail services like Gmail. As with SMTP/POP3, the standard configuration uses no encryption.
Fortunately, most webmail providers insist on using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and/or TLS (Transport Layer Security). So, your IMAP connection to Gmail or Outlook Mail should be encrypted.
Why SSL/TLS Isn’t Enough
You might think that implementing SSL/TLS encryption for your email connections is enough, right? Unfortunately, it’s not. When you send an email to someone, your email client sends it to your local email server. From there, the email is sent onwards. That route may not be direct and there may be multiple servers between you and your recipient. Any of the servers handling your emails may be compromised.
Why Email Encryption is Key
IT support experts in LA strongly advise that corporate emails should be encrypted. When you implement encryption on your business emails, it no longer matters if someone gains access to your email server or even to your recipient’s email server. They won’t be able to read your emails.
Even emails you may think really aren’t very important should be encrypted. There are two main reasons for this. If you only encrypt your most important emails, hackers can see very easily which of your emails are most valuable and focus on those. The second reason is that emails you think aren’t important may contain personal details that hackers can collect and use for social engineering attacks.
Encryption Can Be Difficult to Implement
Unfortunately, using encryption with your email isn’t the easiest thing ever. It also requires some education on the part of your recipients. However, you can have the assistance of an IT support provider in LA to help you implement it. To learn more about your email encryption options, contact us now at Advanced Networks.