Review: Encryption Plus Email

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One very important area of email security is encryption. Unless you are using leased lines or virtual private networks (VPNs) to transmit information, the moment an email leaves your firewall it is at the mercy of the internet. Emails can be intercepted and read without your even knowing about it, which poses a terrible risk for corporate information. However, encrypting the email does give you a high degree of ­ reassurance.

PC Guardian provides a nifty little program called Encryption Plus Email that allows you to encrypt email body text and any attachments. The email product is very easy to install - full installation of the administration program takes less than a minute. The product is designed for individual use, so the administrator installs it on each workstation, then configures it centrally and rolls out the user files across the network. Encryption Plus Email is only available for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook, but since these two cover a large proportion of companies this shouldn't be a problem.

One very important area of email security is encryption. Unless you are using leased lines or virtual private networks (VPNs) to transmit information, the moment an email leaves your firewall it is at the mercy of the internet. Emails can be intercepted and read without your even knowing about it, which poses a terrible risk for corporate information. However, encrypting the email does give you a high degree of ­ reassurance.

PC Guardian provides a nifty little program called Encryption Plus Email that allows you to encrypt email body text and any attachments. The email product is very easy to install - full installation of the administration program takes less than a minute. The product is designed for individual use, so the administrator installs it on each workstation, then configures it centrally and rolls out the user files across the network. Encryption Plus Email is only available for Lotus Notes and Microsoft Outlook, but since these two cover a large proportion of companies this shouldn't be a problem.

Creating the individual configuration files is a little more time-consuming, even with the wizard. For each profile, the administrator has the option of forcing encryption for each email, or allowing some to be sent unencrypted. Obviously this is a decision that depends on the user and the organization. Maybe you don't want anyone in payroll to take the risk, so you would force encryption. You can also specify whether encryption will apply only to any attachments.

Once this is done, you must define the encryption file format. A .EXE is easily decrypted but many firewalls will block it; .EPE is more complex but will pass through most firewalls, while .NEX requires complex decryption but almost all firewalls will let it through. In case an encrypted email is received by someone without the product, you can specify a boilerplate message so they know where it has come from and how to decrypt it.

The recipient doesn't need the product installed on their machine or know the public key being used to decrypt the email. It's the sender who needs the installed product to encrypt emails and they must also send the password to enable the recipient to decrypt the message.

There are better encryption products available, but many of them require extremely complex installations and roll-outs, and are considerably more expensive. For a cost-effective way of protecting your emails from prying eyes, Encryption Plus Email is excellent value for money. 

For:

A quick and easy way of encrypting emails.


Against:

Documentation.


Verdict:

For encrypting emails within a company with a distributed network, this is a cost-effective means of providing added protection.

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