Email privacy is defined as the steps taken to protect your emails from being read by unauthorized/unintended recipients. Emails travel from one server to another and can be susceptible to unauthorized attacks at various stages. Hence, whether the email is in transit or stored on a server, email privacy plays a crucial role in every organization's security and compliance.
Emails have become the go-to mode of communication for most businesses these days. With the increase in email usage, the risk of security breaches and data theft has also grown. Businesses need to have email privacy policies to avoid attackers from intercepting emails.
The process of sending an email involves many hardware and software systems like email clients, ISPs, and servers. Email tampering, spam, phishing, and spoofing attacks can be avoided if these protocols are ingrained in the email system of the business. Email encryption is a highly recommended solution to keep your emails safe from hackers.
Understanding email privacy is undoubtedly the first step in achieving it. Often, people get confused between the terms email privacy and email security. These are related to each other but are not the same
The primary difference between the two is:
- Preventing users other than the intended recipients to view/read your email is email privacy.
- Protecting your organization's emails against theft and immoral activities attempted by cyber criminals is email security.
Confused about how unauthorized people can view your emails? Below are a few examples:
- A stranger can read your email when you view it on a mobile in a crowded environment (such as public transport).
- In shared workspaces, the person sitting next to you can take a glimpse of the government tender that you are about to finalize.
- If you are connected to an unknown/unsecured network, hackers can infiltrate the network, thereby gaining access to your emails.
- The worst scenario is when the email server gets hacked, tonnes of email data can be stolen in no time.
Follow the best practices given below to prevent an email privacy breach:
Choosing the right email provider
Before you host your organization's email, scrutinize the features provided by the email provider. Choose the provider that provides robust privacy and security.
Deploying email encryption techniques
Email encryption converts the email content to an unreadable format. Only the intended recipients, who have access to decrypt the message will be able to view the email. Ensure your email provider supports email encryption to secure the emails.
Sending confidential emails
There can be situations where you share sensitive data with your colleagues or clients through emails. While sending such emails, use password protection techniques so that only the recipients with the correct password can view them.
Although an administrator configures every available security setting, without the diligent efforts of the users, email privacy or security cannot be achieved.