If encryption is so good at protecting data, why do so many businesses succumb to cyberattacks?

Cybercriminals use increasingly complex deception methods, and cybersecurity can be unfamiliar, unintuitive, or inconvenient to operate, recent Mimecast research reveals. No wonder most successful cyberattacks are due to human error.

encryption protecting data

A secure email service can help make cybersecurity protocols, such as sending encrypted emails, much easier and more convenient for employees to comply with. A shift in cybersecurity compliance can make a world of difference in keeping your organization secure.

How is encryption actually used to protect data?

Encryption is used for two main purposes. One is to secure “data at rest,” which is stored on a device such as a computer, smartphone, etc. This form of encryption essentially creates a virtual safe for your data that can only be unlocked with a passcode. It’s useful to have this layer of protection in case someone gets ahold of the physical device, they won’t be able to access the data stored on it.

Encryption is also used to secure “data in transit,” particularly emails, which travel across the internet. In this instance you can think of each side of the conversation exchanging keys that enable them to read the conversation without giving access to anyone else. This is known as end-to-end encryption – only each end of the conversation can have access to the message.

If encryption is so easy, why don’t people do it?

The problem is, unless you’re using a secure email service, encryption isn’t usually easy to set up.

For example, you can enable end-to-end encryption on many email providers, such as Outlook or Gmail, but setting that up is often a lengthy and complicated process. Secure email services make it much easier to turn encryption on and off, usually with a click of a button.

And once compliance is simplified, it’s just a matter of building awareness and healthy habits.

Awareness inspires action

Have you ever come across an unfamiliar link and wondered what’s the worst that can happen from clicking on it?

Before undergoing any sort of security awareness training, it can be hard to imagine the consequences of clicking on a suspicious link. You might be more likely to take any email that claims to be from your CEO at face value.

These common phishing attacks have led to major security breaches that cost millions in downtime, ransoms, or in recovering compromised information.

The more you empower employees with ways to defend your organization from cyberattacks, the more likely they are to be proactive. You might even start to see employees reminding each other to encrypt emails the way they remind each other to keep doors locked.

The bottom line: create an environment that sets your organization up for success

Even when everyone understands why encryption is important, if encryption protocols are difficult to set up or use, your employees and contacts may avoid using them.

Secure email services are a way of setting your organization up for success. When cybersecurity is easy to understand and practice, keeping your organization secure becomes as second nature as locking doors.

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