Ripping Off the Email Band-Aid with More Secure Communication

As hard as it may be, enterprises are looking for communication solutions that will keep their data secure so they can collaborate with internal and external teams, and seamlessly integrate with other applications. This may mean moving away from email, especially when the focus of data protection is top-of-mind, given that 75% of all cyber-attacked businesses reported fraudulent emails as a means of obtaining credentials. Additionally, the average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150M. Therefore, ensuring that you have a secure communication tool in place shouldn’t be overlooked.

What’s the Answer?

Wickr’s value has always been based on the concept that most typical forms of electronic communication are not secure. We usually cited email, WhatsApp, or Slack as the most widely used but less secure options. The explanation we used at the time was that organizations needed an out-of-band (OON)  network to protect themselves against a Sony-like event where adversaries not only breached sensitive emails, but then monitored the internal communications from the response team trying to fight off the hackers.

In those days (I’m talking five years ago, which of course is an eternity in the technology world), the issue was the content of the emails – what was being said in those communications. The lesson from Sony was that email is insecure and adversaries could read emails if they wished, so you needed to be careful about what you sent with that technology. That risk remains today but has now gone a step further.

Today, the risk is not just the content of the email, but the use of email as a weapon for adversaries to prey on your employees and stakeholders through malware designed to gain access to information and systems without the user’s knowledge. A 2019 Verizon survey indicated that 94% of malware is delivered via email. It has become very easy for adversaries to get well-intentioned employees to click on an email they shouldn’t open and unleash cyber havoc on their employers, leading to a breach of key data, company embarrassment, and massive fines.

Looking Ahead

In 2020, none of this information is surprising, and it leads all of us to suggest we should probably use less email and more of something more secure for our communication needs. But is it possible for us to move off email when it’s such a huge part of how we communicate today? That just doesn’t seem likely or possible.

However, it’s not only likely – it’s already happening. Due to fear of email or comfort with texting, we are already seeing organizations move to messaging apps for key communication. More than 90% of text messages are read within three minutes, which presents a promising business case for many enterprises, such that texting is now another avenue to communicate with their customers and teams. The growth of consumer products such as Slack, WhatsApp, Signal, and enterprise solutions like Wickr and Teams, shows that companies are already removing certain types of communications from email. In Europe, it’s even more the case, as organizations fear the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which has already issued $126M in fines to companies that didn’t protect their data appropriately.

As you may recall, GDPR came into force on May 25, 2018. The purpose of it centered around data protection. According to Digital Guardian, some of the key privacy and data protection requirements of the GDPR include:

  • Requiring the consent of subjects for data processing
  • Anonymizing collected data to protect privacy
  • Providing data breach notifications
  • Safely handling the transfer of data across borders
  • Requiring certain companies to appoint a data protection officer to oversee GDPR compliance

Final Thoughts

Fear and uncertainty are natural when it comes to stepping away from something comfortable or established. It’s hard to imagine a day when you don’t check your email while drinking your morning coffee, but that day is already here for many of us and is coming for the rest. The question for all of us is, “When is it my time to rip off the email Band-Aid, and how do we get started?”

Finally, check out these blog posts to learn more about secure data sharing:

Wickr was designed to be a secure collaboration platform. When you’re communicating with other Wickr users – inside or outside of your company – your messages are encrypted end-to-end. Download Wickr today.