Preventing Data-Driven Disasters Using Email Encryption


Thought Leadership

Preventing Data-Driven Disasters Using Email Encryption

Geoff Bibby

Enterprise data — the most valuable resource that most organizations possess — is often considered the “new oil,” because when data is inaccessible, the gears of an enterprise screech to a halt. That is a lesson the electronic health record company Allscripts learned the hard way.

When several of its data centers were infected by a variation of the SamSam ransomware, major applications and the data within were taken offline. Allscripts called in incident response teams from Microsoft and Cisco, ultimately restoring data from backups. Ultimately, however, resolving a problem like this can take too long — especially considering how essential such data is to daily operations — which is why only a few months prior to the Allscripts cyberattack, Hancock Health was forced to pay a $55,000 ransom to restore its hacked data.

As the definitions of “valuable” and “irrelevant” evolve in the context of data, cybersecurity strategies must evolve as well. And organizations that foreground email encryption can create a defensive perimeter that protects their sensitive data in-transit and even, in some cases, in the event of a hack.

Armoring Data Through Email Encryption


Companies across industries are increasingly being forced to consider this devil’s bargain. While large-scale data breaches are still common occurrences, targeted attacks — especially on the inbox — are becoming the new battlefront. Hackers have learned that the scale of the data they target matters less than the value. As a result, data like intellectual property, private conversations, and political secrets are now highly vulnerable to attack — and highly lucrative when hijacked.

While it’s unrealistic for organizations to expect that they can spot every threat in advance or prevent information hacks entirely, email encryption provides a final safeguard to protect the most sensitive data companies traffic in while they traffic in it, even when other defenses fall short.

As both an ironclad and tested solution, email encryption has been around for more than 20 years, but a best-in-class solution is most effective because it provides comprehensive protection for data in transit and at rest. Even in the event of a hack, such a solution ensures emails are secure when traveling across networks and when archived while also prioritizing accessibility and ease of use. Solutions that are confusing or time-consuming to apply and remove can cause users to forgo best practices in favor of increased efficiency and productivity. When they’re seamless, however, users don’t have to choose between working securely and working conveniently.

Today’s cyberthreat landscape is vast and varied. We constantly hear stories about global companies like HBO and high-level intelligence agencies like the NSA falling victim to hackers. But protecting sensitive data doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can help reduce the impact of cyberthreats that range from business email compromise to social engineering to phishing to data beaches. With email encryption, organizations can prioritize data protection even if other defense measures fail, thwarting the most tenacious cybercriminals and instilling in their users the ultimate form of peace of mind.