When you're juggling emails every day, whether that's for personal communication, work or managing online accounts, you may not always pause to consider the unseen complexities involved in their operation. The use of encrypted email is one that is often overlooked. But why does it matter, and why should you care? We've put this blog together to help you understand the importance of encrypted email, even if you're not a computer whiz!
What Is Encrypted Email?
Let's start with the basics. Simply put, an encrypted email is an email that has been turned into a form of 'secret code' to prevent unauthorized access. It's a bit like writing a letter in a secret language only you and your recipient understand. This means that even if someone else intercepts the letter (or in this case, your email), they won't be able to understand what it says.
This secret language, also known as encryption, is based on complicated mathematics that scramble your email content into an unreadable format. The only person who can read it is the one with the key to decode it, i.e. your intended recipient.
Why Do You Need Encrypted Email?
There are three main reasons why you might want to use encrypted email:
Even if your emails only contain everyday chit-chat, you might not want them to be accessible to anyone who happens to gain access to your account or intercept your messages. Encrypted email ensures that your communications remain private, only seen by you and your recipient.
Protecting Sensitive Information
If you ever need to send sensitive information, such as bank details, personal data, or confidential business information, email encryption adds an extra layer of protection. It reduces the risk of your important information falling into the wrong hands.
Depending on your profession, you might be legally required to protect client or patient data. Encrypting your email can help ensure that you stay in compliance with these laws.
How Does Encrypted Email Work?
When you send an encrypted email, your email service uses a set of keys to 'lock' the email. These keys are unique and often based on a technology called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). There are two keys: a public one, which is used to encrypt or lock the message, and a private one, which is used to decrypt or unlock it.
Your recipient gets your email, which has been encoded with their public key, and uses their private key to decode the message. That way, even if someone intercepts your email, they won't be able to read it because they don't have the right private key.
Encrypted email may sound like a complex tool used only by tech-savvy individuals or corporations, but its utility applies to everyone. Privacy, security, and sometimes even compliance with laws, are all valid reasons to start considering encrypted email for your daily communications. Remember, online security is not just for the experts - it's something we should all make use of.