How to Securely Send Sensitive Documents via Email
Email may be the default way to send sensitive information, but it is also responsible for over 90% of data breaches. Make 2023 the year you stop using email to send and request secure information.
2. Mitigating the Risks of Email Attachments
When employees exchange or collect documents containing any of the foregoing sensitive information types via email, they should apply protective measures. Here are three steps you can take to mitigate the risk of data breaches in email attachments.
1. Password protect the attached document:
Common document file types such Word docs and PDFs contain password protection features that users can set before attaching documents to emails.
2. Encrypt the attachment:
3. Encrypt the entire email:
In addition to encrypting attachments, users can also encrypt the entire email’s content in many services. Email encryption relies on the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) paradigm, in which a recipient is assigned a public key stored on a third-party server and a private key for decryption stored on a private server.
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3. Eliminate Risk & Improve Efficiencies with a Secure File Sharing Platform
Although password protection and encryption for email attachments reduce the risk of exposing sensitive information to malicious third-parties, these measures cannot eliminate vulnerability entirely. Successful email attack methods still exist and can often result in attackers gaining control over personal computers or software-as-a-service (SaaS) accounts and escalating privileges to gain wider system access.
Common threats to email systems include:
- Spam and Phishing
- Social Engineering
As defending against these attack vectors depends largely on human behavior — maintaining strong credentials, recognizing phishing and social engineering scams, and not storing sensitive information on unsecured personal devices — organizations that continue to use email attachments as a means of exchanging sensitive information must accept some degree of risk exposure.
Thoroughly eliminating risks involves scrapping email as a file sharing medium and adopting a dedicated secure file sharing platform. Secure file sharing services such as DropBox and GoogleDrive offer users individual and business account types for cloud file storage and exchange.
4. Make FileInvite Your Document Collection Standard
Not all file sharing services are created equal. Security experts estimate that as much as 40% of SaaS cloud service provider data is unmanaged and exposed to persistent insider threats.
When choosing a service provider, organizations should evaluate the strength of the technologies they employ and the credentials they maintain.
FileInvite is a SOC 2 Type 2 compliant file sharing and document portal platform that protects all data exchanges with 256-bit encryption. Practicing the gold standards of financial information security, FileInvite offers users the highest degree of confidence that their information is protected from all threat types.
5. Related Resources
The FTC's updated Safeguard Rule's requirements around encryption, authentication, and customer data disposal expose email’s security shortcomings, and make it no longer a viable solution.
Email as we know it today has been around for 50 years. And while it has evolved in that time, it is essentially still the same thing using the same decades-old technologies, especially when you consider email security.
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