Email encryption and mobile are like oil and water

Lack of standardisation, clunky integration and poor user experience have all stood in the way of tackling the security risks of email use on mobile devices. While the use of instant messaging services and social media is increasing, email remains the staple of business-to-business communication.

As businesses and employees become more mobile the challenge of securing sensitive data within email messages heightens. Almost half of employees, access business email on a device they own. Are mobile and email security like oil and water: destined never to mix?

Encryption technology has often existed as a bolt-on capability, for both traditional and mobile email clients. Hindering the user experience by disconnecting them from the simplicity of built-in device applications.

Mobile technology has become universal because it is slick and intuitive. Its primary focus is the user experience. If that experience doesn’t exist, then we’ll naturally find ourselves looking for a way around the issue. When that issue is email security, the requirements of the business are at odds with the user’s actions. It becomes a serious problem.

So it’s not actually the case that mobile and secure email don’t mix. It’s that too many companies haven’t properly integrated email services with email security. Secure messaging must be an integral part of your apps.

The opportunities that mobile working presents to any business are significant and not going away any time soon. This opens up doors to countless vulnerabilities, especially as the value of data continues to rise, making it a rich target for cyber criminals.

New devices and applications arrive on the market on an almost daily basis, so to keep track of every device is clearly a fool’s errand for anyone developing security software.

Third party providers trying to bolt on security simply add additional steps for the mobile user. That means if there is a workaround, users will find it.

Delivering a seamless experience is fundamental to user adoption and user adoption is a key to compliance with any message security strategy. The user experience can be enhanced by building security into the web app experience. It should be functional, yet seamless to the user. Users should have controls, but it should also work without them having to do anything.

What business needs is smart platform for message encryption that makes the decisions for the user. When this platform is device independent, it does not matter if the user is on Android, Apple, Windows or any other platform…they can send email securely.

The pace of technology and user device preference change so quickly, security solutions need to remain flexible enough to adapt along with them.

Jacob Ginsberg, Senior Director, Echoworx

Image source: Shutterstock/Peshkova