Email Encryption: What if You’re on the Receiving Side?


From a usability perspective, email security providers often spend a lot of time talking about the end-user experience as it relates to employee adoption. This makes sense because the employees of the organization that is purchasing the security product are the ones who must adopt the technology in the first place – without their support, email security is impossible to achieve.

On the other hand, when it comes to the person receiving the message, the focus is often on security and privacy of the content, meaning the primary objective is to ensure the encrypted email content arrives in the receiver’s inbox safely and securely. However, it’s also important to look at the receiver’s experience and their role in supporting secure communications loop.

Frequently the receivers of encrypted email are customers, patients, clients and partners – important stakeholders of the organization. While message security and privacy protection may be the primary objectives – sometimes regulated by law – making it easy for recipients to access and respond to secure email is equally crucial especially if the goal is creating a two-way secure communication channel.

When it comes to ease of use for the receiver, not all encryption solutions are equal. Follows are a few questions businesses can ask of their services provider as it relates to the receiver.

What does the receiver see the first time?

The first time someone receives an encrypted message from your organization, it is important to be aware of the process and understand how the receiver will know the message is from you. The receiver must be effectively introduced to the encryption solution in a way that builds trust and is not complicated. In the case of Cirius, the solution becomes a part of the existing email environment and is branded to the sender’s organization. The first time someone receives a secure message they also receive notification email, which explains the simple steps to accessing and replying securely from their regular email address (at not cost to the receiver of course).

What do receivers have to do to communicate with your business securely?

After they have accessed the message, what steps are required for them to respond? Just like with end-user employees, if the process is too complicated or requires several steps, the person with whom you are communicating, be that a customer, client, patient or someone else, is not likely to be too pleased. For both senders and receivers, Cirius works within their regular email environment using existing email addresses. Replying to a secure message is as easy as replying to basic email message, plus it offers a host of other message control advantages that can directly benefit receivers as well.

Does it go beyond encryption?

Depending on the encryption product, message control features – like real-time notifications the moment a secure message is received and read, the ability to securely share large files or the power to stop replies to or forwarding of a message can also be enabled for the receiver to use when communicating with the person who sent the secure message. In this way the receiver can experience the same message control advantages in addition to security when they communicate with your organization – a win-win for everyone.