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Is Transferring Files Through Email Secure?

Secure email makes transferring ad hoc files safer

You know the feeling. That need to cross your fingers and hold your breath when you hit “send” on an email, or at the moment you click on a link within an email with a pang of regret. While a boon to business, easing communications, giving people the ability to reply at leisure, and putting things “in writing” for posterity, unsecure email can also pose great risks.

What are the Risks of Using Email for File Exchanges?

Sending ad hoc file transfers via email, while easy and convenient, unfortunately poses a number of security risks and deliverability issues, such as:

  • Lack of encryption. Email is sent "in the clear" meaning that it is not encrypted. Potentially, almost anyone able to view the traffic being sent across an internal network or the Internet can also access the attachment.
  • File size limitations. Large files are often not able to be sent due to size limitations by the provider or organization’s server. And too often the sender is not even aware that the file wasn’t properly delivered until it’s too late.
  • File type restrictions. Certain file types may not be permitted to protect against cyberattacks from virus and spyware programs often hidden disguised behind .zip, .exe, or .dat file types.
  • Lack of audit trail. When it comes to emails, methods for providing the required audit trails for compliance are either difficult to execute or non-existent. To maintain compliance and avoid hefty fines, many industries require detailed logs of where information is going, who has accessed information, and confirmation that sensitive data arrived at its intended destination.

How Can Email be More Secure?

Implementing a common encryption method can ramp up the security of your emailed file transfers substantially. You have a number of secure options, depending on your specific needs.

Not sure which protocol your organization needs? Check out this white paper which covers everything encryption, including various protocols such as ZIP with AES, SFTP, FTPS, Secure Mail, AS2, as well as Open PGP.

White Paper: Why Automating Encryption and Decryption Makes Good Cybersecurity Sense

No matter which protocol you use, your data needs to be safely encrypted both while it is in transfer or transit and while it is at rest, such as while stored on a server.

Adding more security around your email file transfers is only effective if your organization’s users use the solution. Make it too difficult to transfer files securely and employees will simply seek out their own, often unsecure, solutions.

Some IT teams use free Open PGP tools to achieve file security. Open PGP encrypts the file before attaching it to an email. In order to use this, your recipients must also have Open PGP software installed.

Others elect a centralized managed file transfer solution to protect their data with more features and benefits, including automation, surrounding the process.

Managed file transfer (MFT) software, like that of GoAnywhere MFT, also addresses the other issues around email transfer of sensitive data, such as file type, file size and audit trails.

What is Secure Email?

Secure email, or secure ad hoc file transfer, is a solution that combines the familiarity and ease of email with the option to secure both the file and the text of the email.

Secure Mail uses the common Outlook email client in the form of an add-on utility and/or web client using secure HTTPS protocols. Using it is easy. The sender creates an email with the email client, and the add-on feature provides a separate “send” button designed to send the file using secure methods. The recipient simply clicks on the link that redirects them to an HTTPS-secured web page with the files ready to be downloaded. Using MFT to send email securely eliminates the complexity of certificates, electronic keys or multiple software solutions from either party. And you can send files of any size – no limits!

Detailed audit and report features keep all records of where that file has been, and any transactions related to it at your fingertips as well.

Want to add more security around your email transactions?

If ease-of-use and tons of features and benefits above and beyond email appeal, check out a free trial of GoAnywhere MFT. Or find out now how secure email through MFT fits into your IT budget.

I’d Like a Quote on Secure Mail with MFT

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