Category: Customer Experience

03 Apr 2019
customer centric encryption

Why Customer-Centric Encryption Matters in Financial Services

Before message encryption became mainstream with its incorporation into popular messaging platforms, like WhatsApp, and into deep-reaching, headline-grabbing international privacy regulations, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the financial services industry could usually get away with using overly-complex data security options which were not user friendly. Customers simply didn’t know protecting their data could be seamless and practically invisible.

They know it now and expect customer-centric encryption solutions—especially from the financial services organizations that secure their most sensitive data.

Financial services firms shouldn’t need to choose between security and customer experience. If you look at encryption specs, you’ll notice that algorithms aren’t the primary differentiators of any secure email solution. Almost all contemporary security products feature 2048-bit RSA encryption, 256-bit AES encryption and SHA2 signatures.

The real differentiator is customer experience—how easy is it for customers and employees to use the encryption solution? And do they get the awesome customer experience they’ve come to expect?

Five ways encryption can secure customer-centric innovation

The customer experience differentiators that enterprise-level financial services organizations should look for in an encryption solution include:

  • Definable policies to control which communications require encryption and how they are sent.
  • Multiple flexible delivery methods for different types of secure encrypted communications.
  • Easy and frictionless user experience for employees and customers, no matter how tech-savvy they are (or aren’t).
  • Multiple brand and language options to support brand alignment and customer expectations and to give customers the peace of mind that comes with receiving secure messages from a trusted source.
  • Dedicated account support to help organizations understand how email encryption fits into their business model.

Customer experience is so important because it directly relates to trust—the new currency in banking. Your clients need to trust you with their most personal data and—like it or not—clunky user experiences erode their faith in your ability to protect their data. And when clients lose faith and no longer trust your brand, they will leave. A recent Echoworx survey found that 80 per cent of customers consider leaving a brand after a data breach. With so many CEOs concerned about company reputation, it doesn’t make sense to settle for an encryption solution that can’t support an awesome customer experience—the risk to the brand is just too high.

In addition to benefitting your customer-centric business model, there are added monetary benefits to adopting a flexible frictionless encryption solution. A recent Forrester Total Economic Impact™ study, for example, revealed that a typical enterprise-level organization can slash $2.7M off their bottom line through employing our flexible OneWorld encryption solution.

Get the full Forrester Total Economic Impact™ study of OneWorld here.

Achieving both regulatory compliance and customer-centricity

Like all companies, financial services organizations are subject to privacy regulations like the GDPR. But that’s the tip of the iceberg—and being non-compliant with these privacy laws comes with stiff sharp-toothed penalties.

Regulations financial services companies are subject to[1] or should be aware of include[2]:

  • FINRA guidelines
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
  • SEC 17A-3 and 17A-4
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)
  • EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Canadian Securities Administrators National Instrument 31-303 (CSA NI)
  • Investment Dealers Association of Canada (IDA29.7)
  • Model Requirements for the Management of Electronic Records (MOREQ)
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) Cybersecurity Regulation

Since compliance is so integral to the financial services industry, it’s in your organization’s best interest to choose an encryption solution that has privacy by design; this means your secure email platform figures out how to send messages based on the policies you define during your initial service customization. For example, a business partner receives transparent encryption via TLS, a customer receives a monthly statement as a secure PDF attachment and a European bank may require PGP emails because employees have PGP software running on their desktops.

What customer-centric encryption means to your bottom line

In financial services, providing a frictionless and secure customer experience isn’t optional for seamless secure communication. But there are additional monetary benefits to choosing and implementing the right flexible encryption solution. For example, a recent Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study conducted by Forrester suggests that typical enterprise-level organizations employing Echoworx’s OneWorld encryption platform can slash nearly $320K off their bottom line with the adoption of self-service support options, like automatic password resets – increasing call centre productivity and removing the need for additional overhead.

Customer-centric encryption helps financial services organizations build and keep trust with clients, stay compliant and reduce costs. Isn’t it time to take advantage of this proven competitive differentiator?

The Echoworx Difference

At Echoworx, encryption is all we do. Our OneWorld encryption platform is a natural extension for most existing systems and offers a wide range of flexible, adaptable and dependable encryption delivery methods for use at enterprise-level corporations.

Learn more about the ROI of Echoworx OneWorld encryption here.

By: Christian Peel, VP Engineering at Echoworx

——–

[1] https://www.echoworx.com/project/encryption-technologies-financial-services/

[2] https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/regulatory/articles/banking-regulatory-outlook.html

22 Mar 2019
dont fear the paperless tiger

Don’t Fear the Paper Tiger: Paperless is Easier than You Think with Encryption

Every year, more than 500 billion bills[i] are sent to customers and that doesn’t even include monthly and quarterly statements for financial and health-related matters. Now, just imagine going to the post office and buying stamps for all those bills and statements.

Many organizations don’t have to imagine the high cost of postage because their processes and systems that depend on paper transactions make this a reality.

But going completely paperless is more complicated than just flipping a switch and turning on a computer – you need a secure environment for your digital documents. When an organization goes paperless, they enter a world of complex privacy regulations, like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), where non-compliance can trigger massive sharp-toothed fines. This is where having a comprehensive encryption strategy can help – and even plays to an organization’s advantage.

Here’s how you can leverage an encryption solution to go paperless, accelerate your digital transformation and achieve real business value:

The advantages of going paperless

Going paperless saves money – but only when digital documents are sent securely. A recent Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study conducted by Forrester, for example, suggests that enterprises using OneWorld encryption accelerate the digital transition of their mail delivery by ten percent. Given the average $1 cost-per-page associated with traditional mail, a typical enterprise-level organization using OneWorld can save $1.5M over three years.

Other advantages of going paperless include increased user satisfaction, streamlined processes and easing the burden of compliance with privacy regulations such as the GDPR.

Why organizations are reluctant to go paperless

Going paperless by adopting secure digital document delivery is a significant project that requires time, money, specialized expertise, the capability to integrate legacy data and systems and, sometimes, a change to current processes in how responses are sent and processed. Organizations with already-stretched IT resources are reluctant to take on a paperless project when it’s seen as a cost-driver, instead of a cost-savings initiative.

Paperless communications necessitate secure digital communication which means encryption. Expenses associated with an on-premise encryption solution include physical servers, maintenance staff and customer support resources. These legacy costs can be slashed during a paperless project. For example, by integrating the OneWorld encryption solution, a typical enterprise-level organization mitigates these upkeep costs–and saves about $795K over three years.[ii]

This reluctance to go paperless is based on fear of complexity, effort and security concerns – not facts. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, where digital transformation—including going paperless—is no longer optional for sustainable businesses, and is increasingly becoming a competitive edge with your customers.

Pain-free paperless use case: upgrading a legacy system

Enterprises might be unable to increase their paperless efforts on account of existing on-premise legacy encryption technology being unable to handle additional loads. But, on account of this existing outdated messaging infrastructure, even if the ROI of going paperless is intriguing, they may wonder how painful the project will be. It doesn’t have to be difficult if they pursue the right solution and work with the right people.

Going paperless helps businesses streamline processes, reduce resources and save money. The recent Forrester study, done on behalf of Echoworx, found a strong ROI for implementing the OneWorld encryption solution and a payback period of only about seven months.

We hope this encryption ROI research helps you put the Paper Tiger in its rightful place.

The Echoworx difference

At Echoworx, encryption is all we do. Our OneWorld encryption platform is a natural extension for most existing systems and offers a wide range of flexible, adaptable and dependable encryption delivery methods for use at enterprise-level corporations.

Learn more about the ROI of Echoworx OneWorld encryption here.

By: Christian Peel, VP Engineering at Echoworx

 

——-

[i] https://www.echoworx.com/how-can-we-convert-more-customers-to-paperless-billing/

[ii] https://www.echoworx.com/project/forrester-tei-of-echoworx-oneworld/

09 Mar 2019
Customer Satisfaction

How to stimulate digital engagement with customers

In the offline world, organizations build their customer base slowly over time and these customers generally become and stay loyal to the company—unless there’s a major screw up. But that’s not how it goes in the digital world; though competition is fierce, digital customers are easy to get but hard to keep. Even the smallest user-experience blip can send them packing.

Digital customer engagement—which relies heavily on digital communications—plays an important role in customer experience and satisfaction. Organizations must create an inviting digital environment that encourages engagement and builds digital trust. While digital trust is easy to gain, it’s easier to lose and impossible to get back.

With that in mind, we suggest your digital environment supports these four elements: security, user experience, cost mitigation and compliance. With these in place, it’s easier and safer than ever to stimulate digital engagement with your customers.

Secure communications

Customers expect built-in data security and yet 69 per cent of customers don’t believe organizations do everything they can to protect client data. Your organization can differentiate itself from the competition by delivering on the promise of secure communications. One way to ensure secure communications for all senders and receivers is by using an encryption solution with flexible delivery methods including TLS, S/MIME, PGP and secure web portals. Encryption is a value proposition for businesses that want to gain customer trust while protecting themselves against costly data breaches.

User experience

Customers get a good user experience when data protection is built into the process. Making encryption the default option takes advantage of the human condition—we tend to follow the path of least resistance. Save your customers the trouble of adding an extra step—if they remember or find the time—without leaving encryption to chance. Your choice of encryption can also protect your customers from phishing and spear phishing attacks, where malicious parties mimic your brand via email to steal private information or install malware. Encryption that can support multiple brands with multiple delivery methods in multiple languages assures customers that your secure messages are from a trusted source—not spam.

Cost mitigation

Customer engagement is desirable as part of a streamlined service that helps your clients and supports your business model. But if customer engagement systems chain you to the same old clunky hardware, more IT resources and more customer support staff, the costs can soon outweigh the benefits. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. For example, according to a recent study commissioned by Echoworx, moving your PGP system to a cloud-based encryption environment alleviates nearly $800K of on-premise legacy system costs—without any disruption to your customers.

See the full report here.

Compliance

Organizations are subject to multiple privacy regulations—including GDPR, PIPEDA and HIPAA—depending on where they operate and where their customers live. Violating these regulations leads to fines and penalties. For example, GDPR violations can cost up to $20 million or four percent annual turnover (whichever is greater). These regulations also make it mandatory to report any data breach. To give you an idea of how fleeting digital trust is, most digital customers will leave forever once they hear about a breach. When you choose an encryption platform, make sure it includes features to keep you on the right side of compliance—and helps your customers feel secure during their online engagement with you.

It’s harder and more important than ever to maintain digital trust. Set yourself up for success by implementing systems like encryption to support and stimulate your online customer engagement activities.

The Echoworx Differenc

At Echoworx, encryption is all we do. Our OneWorld encryption platform is a natural extension for most existing systems and offers a wide range of flexible, adaptable and dependable encryption delivery methods for use at enterprise-level corporations.

Learn more about Echoworx OneWorld encryption delivery methods here.

By Alex Loo, VP of Operations at Echoworx

 

26 Feb 2019

A Perfect 10? Why Flexible Encryption Matters for Your Business

According to Forrester, “consumers use technologies that support convenience and put a higher value on CX (Customer Experience).[i]” And as banking, financial service, government, healthcare, legal and compliance professionals know, customers expect that experience to include encrypted communications and data protection. If your organization uses an out-of-the-box email security product with built-in email encryption, you’re off to a good start.

But if you’re leading a customer-obsessed organization, a tailored approach to encryption is likely more aligned to your business values than an out-of-the-box solution. Implementing a flexible encryption solution as a natural extension to your existing encryption framework takes your data security and digital trust factor from good to great.

Here are four business reasons for adopting a flexible encryption model:

1 – Increase nimbleness and continual alignment to business processes

Business processes vary across any organization. One group sends millions of e-statements monthly while others send sensitive documents one at a time to internal or external parties. Enabling an encryption platform with flexible controls for every scenario gives you the power to create a customizable user experience for senders and recipients while staying in control of encrypted messages that are in transit and at rest.

2 – Build trust instantly with multiple language and branding options – 

If your organization operates internationally, excellent customer experience includes communications in your client’s preferred language. And it goes without saying, all communications must be aligned to your brand no matter which line of business sends them. With 79 per cent of people taking less than 30 seconds to evaluate the safety of an email, off-brand but legitimate emails from your company can quickly get categorized as spam and cast doubt on your organization’s digital trustworthiness. With Echoworx OneWorld, a natural encryption extension for common enterprise solutions, you can set language policies to automatically apply to encrypted communications based on sender, brand, locale and receiver attributes.

3 – Get ahead of your competition in information security management –

In a recent survey of IT professionals and IT decision-makers, we found that although encryption is a priority for most organizations, less than half the organizations with encryption software use it extensively. This means that in any industry, chances are good that using a flexible encryption solution to secure delivery methods can be a differentiator for your business.And when you choose a user-friendly option, your encryption and data security measures become a customer-centric value proposition. Take mobile and desktop user experiences, for example. With over 80 per cent of emails being initially read on some form of mobile device, any encryption solution should offer a comparable or identical desktop user experience.

4 – Increase long-term performance through proactive risk management –

The 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey report suggests that long-term economic performance is more likely when companies increase risk resilience rather than merely attempt to avoid risk.[ii] This happens because resilient companies—ones with disaster recovery or business continuity plans—can bounce back faster from unfortunate incidents than those without. From a cyber-security point of view, proactive risk management includes encryption that supports multiple secure delivery methods with effective fallback options, secure password encryption procedures and a streamlined user experience that makes using encryption the easy default.

In a customer-obsessed business culture, organizations must be proactive about meeting and exceeding client expectations while keeping client data secure. It’s easier and more necessary than ever to adopt secure encryption across your organization. Securing sensitive data is the right thing to do—and comes with a strong business case.

The Echoworx Difference

At Echoworx, encryption is all we do. Our OneWorld encryption platform is a natural extension for most existing systems and offers a wide range of flexible, adaptable and dependable encryption delivery methods for use at enterprise-level corporations.

Learn more about Echoworx OneWorld encryption delivery methods here.

By Christian Peel, VP Engineering, Echoworx

——-

[i] https://go.forrester.com/blogs/new-leaders-emerge-as-businesses-are-disrupted-more-rapidly/

[ii] https://www.pwc.com/us/en/cybersecurity/assets/pwc-2018-gsiss-strengthening-digital-society-against-cyber-shocks.pdf

22 Feb 2019
who controls your encryption experience

Who Controls Your Encryption Experience?

At its core, security is an exercise of control. Security controls how our property is used, who has access to it and keeps it safe. In cybersecurity, this notion generally refers to the protection of an organization’s digital assets– keeping data safe and sound.

But what happens to this secure sense of control when data goes beyond your reach – outside your digital perimeter? You encrypt it.

Here are some points to consider for effective encryption – without relinquishing control:

 

  1. Compliance needs met with encryption

    Under international privacy rules, like the GDPR, non-compliance can lead to massive fines you can’t afford. And, while delivery methods like TLS or PGP are effective for protecting data in transit and end-to-end, they do not accommodate every situation – additional options are needed. If a TLS connection is not available, you may want automatic fallbacks to another secure delivery methods, such as via web portal or as an encrypted attachment – ensuring sensitive data always remains protected.

    Explore the pros and cons of different secure delivery methods.

  2. Proactive policies leave less room for internal error

    Encryption is a feature of any serious cybersecurity design – but real world application still lags, according to Echoworx data. When a platform is not user friendly and encrypting a message is difficult, there is a tendency for senders to favour the path of least resistance – sending sensitive data without protection. Setting proactive encryption policies in motion not only makes encryption mandatory based on pre-set rules, but also improves platform usability by automating a sometimes-confusing process.

    Take inbound encryption policies, for example. When a customer sends an organization sensitive information, like a credit card number, over an open or unrecognized channel, there is a chance existing email filters might flag and block their message for reasons of compliance. By setting inbound encryption policies, incoming emails containing sensitive data are automatically encrypted, before being delivered to a recipient’s inbox – safe, sound and compliant.

  1. Stay in control of encryption controls

    From the choice of email service provider to something as simple as a device-type, there are a variety of ways recipients might be inadvertently controlling their encryption experience. This unintended result can prove detrimental to their user experience – especially if there are better encryption delivery methods for their situation.

    Using proactive policies, your organization can push secure delivery methods tailored to specific customers. You might, for example, set policies which restrict TLS to trusted partners only – or employ attachment-only encryption for secure statement delivery.

    See specific use cases of our OneWorld encryption platform.

  1. Offer a consistent encryption experience

    Part of a true streamlined user experience relies on a consistent user experience – regardless of device, location, location or connectivity. An encrypted message experience, for example, should offer the same user experience regardless of whether the secure message is accessed on a desktop computer or offline via a mobile device – without the need for third-party apps. This same consistent user experience also helps streamline working within collaborative environments.

    Common business scenarios, for example, often involve engaging with a sensitive document across multiple devices and environments. Is the document going to look and act the same offline and online? If working collaboratively on a sensitive encrypted document, is the user experience identical for all parties involved?

    Explore the different delivery methods offered by the Echoworx Oneworld encryption platform.

  1. Be able to recall encrypted messages

    The ability to recall a compromised message even after it has been read, is a simple, yet fundamental feature enabling control of an encryption experience. Whether a message is sent to an unintended recipient or whether a message is no longer safe, control over a message shouldn’t have to be relinquished just by pressing ‘Send.’

  1. Branding is more than changing the colour

    Branding and the separation of brands is crucial to any enterprise conglomerate. The ability to brand, separate and segment customer interactions according to brand can mean anything from how a secure message is received to a desired language. Different brands should also be siloed to prevent eavesdropping from other business units.

    Learn how you can brand your encrypted messages for a more personalized customer experience.

 

By Derek Christiansen, Engagement Manager, Echoworx

21 Feb 2019
NHS goes fully digital

The End of Fax Britannica! Is a New Paperless Age Coming to Britain’s Public Sector?

On January 1, 2019, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) made a big digital move – no new fax machines. While this might seem insignificant, the underpinning message is deep: a full commitment to digital message channels. And, as the largest public service employer in the UK, with 1.2 million souls, the implications of such a move might run even deeper.

Background

For several years, the NHS has been threatening to go digital, phasing out their snail mail communications and bringing their 70-year-old national healthcare service online – and digital. And, from issues of usability to the more serious, like the loss of 900,000 patient letters in late-2017, the largest NHS blip yet, things have been off to a rocky start.

But, spearheaded by former-Minister of Fun, now Minister of Health, Matt Hancock, ‘The NHS Long-Term Plan’ remains unchanged and unfaltering in its commitment to all things digital. In terms of digital adoption, the 136-page report opens strong: “Virtually every aspect of modern life has been, and will continue to be, radically reshaped by innovation and technology – and healthcare is no exception.”[1]

Zero Fax Given

By 2020, the NHS aims to banish fax machines from their system entirely – with a goal of total phase out by March of next year. Among other things, this means they are shifting their reliance to a purely digital environment – pushing their need for an effective encryption solution to a critical level. Minister Hancock includes the need for encryption into a proposed plan to build an NHS digital architecture which can provide a strong basis for a new generation of digital services.

The savings are big

Going paperless via digital communications offers tremendous value to organizations like the NHS. Between 2013 and 2016, for example, the NHS saved £136M (approx. $178M) with their Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) – a digital communications service currently used by 93 per cent of English GP practices. And something as simple as booking appointments through digital channels is expected to save the NHS a further ₤50M (approx. $65M) per annum.[2]

A second advantage to a digital paperless NHS future is to promote the service as a leading environment for innovative healthcare organizations. As a health-tech hub, NHS users are granted front-row seats to emerging healthcare technology and practices.

Fax machines are just the beginning

In just one decade, by 2029, the NHS aims to be completely paperless – quite an undertaking. But the benefits are huge! By offering paperless healthcare options, patients, medical professionals and NHS employees alike gain access to instantaneous services available anywhere – empowering NHS users to be healthier and stay independent longer.

But with all the sensitive personal information involved in healthcare, robust enterprise-level encryption solutions are needed. And, from TLS to end-to-end encryption solutions, like attachment only encryption, any realistic solution is also going to need to offer flexibility for an excellent, non-confusing and seamless user experience.

See the different ways businesses are leveraging encryption throughout their organizations.

By Christian Peel, VP Engineering, Echoworx

—–

[1] https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf

[2] https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf

15 Feb 2019
cyber security your competitive advantage

Can cybersecurity be a competitive edge?

In the old days, before organizations became customer-obsessed and held off-site leadership events to drill down on their value proposition, information security was simple. There was the CIO and a few stewards of the air-conditioned server room which was invisible to the non-IT eye. Back then, cybersecurity operated in the shadows and it worked just fine … until it didn’t.

Fast forward to today when cyber security is front and centre for senior leadership, boards, customers and partners. All these stakeholders can tell you what Target is now famous for: a customer data breach that cost the company over $200 million[i] to resolve.

And in an increasingly-competitive business landscape, forward-thinking organizations are integrating information security into business processes to avoid becoming the next cautionary tale on the six o’clock news.

Enough to make organizations WannaCry: Evolving cybersecurity threats

The continuously evolving cybersecurity threats organizations face include malicious security breaches and attacks, accidental breaches initiated from well-intentioned employees and known governmental surveillance. Ironically, as businesses benefit from connected infrastructure networks (think of advances in supply chain management, for example), that connectedness also increases the risk of security threats—because attacks can spread across connected networks so quickly.

CIOs and chief security officers are no longer alone at the table advocating for better privacy and data security measures but there’s still room for improvement. The 2018 Global State of Information Security Survey report found that only 40 per cent of corporate boards participate in their organization’s security strategy.[ii]

But perhaps the biggest threat of all is a lingering notion that cyber security is an IT problem. It’s not an IT problem. It’s a business problem. Unfortunately, most business leaders don’t understand the nuts and bolts of data security and digital threats which can make it more difficult to address the issue.

Security specialists may get more traction at the leadership and board level by framing cybersecurity as a competitive edge. That’s not finessing the facts considering that 92 per cent of organizations surveyed through the EY 2018-19 Global Information Security Survey called their information security insufficient.[iii] 92 per cent!

Four ways cyber security investment helps organizations gain a competitive edge:

  1.  Reduces compliance risks and fines – Legislation such as the GDPR, HIPAA and PIPEDA affects the way companies do business and fines can be substantial. Did you know that GDPR violations can cost up to $20 million or four per cent annual turnover (whichever is greater)?[iv] Since EU citizens are covered under the GDPR even when they’re out of the EU, international companies can stay on the right side of compliance by using proactive policy-based email encryption measures that automatically apply protection to predetermined groups of users (e.g., EU citizens).
  1. Reduces unnecessary cost – The average cost of a single data breach is $3.6 million (USD).[v] But Target’s breach cost 55 times that much which is why a cybersecurity strategy that protects the downside is so valuable. For example, investing in a flexible encryption platform means encryption can be automated to accommodate any business situation and keep data secure—without any hassle.
  1. Protects the company brand – Inadvertently allowing malicious entities or hackers to access your customers’ personal information is a quick way to reduce or eliminate their trust in you. Imagine how long it will take Equifax to win back the trust of 147 million Americans after the 2017 breach. Investing in proactive cybersecurity measures, like encryption, helps you preserve the fragile relationship that is the reality of digital trust.

 

  1. Delivers a value proposition for your customers – Your customers may not be able to keep up with the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity, but they expect protection to be a built-in feature of doing business with you. Proactive cybersecurity measures make conducting online business safer and more reliable which saves customers time, streamlines their experience and delivers real value to them.

 

Quick tip: Make your competitive edge easy to use

An information security program likely has multiple lines of defense, including encryption, authorization and data integrity measures, but these systems and processes only work if people use them. We encourage you to implement cybersecurity systems and processes that are easy for employees and customers to use. Because even when cybersecurity is top of mind, most employees and customers won’t be inconvenienced for the sake of security.

By Alex Loo, VP of Operations at Echoworx

——–

[i] https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/target-settles-2013-hacked-customer-data-breach-18-5-million-n764031

[ii] https://www.pwc.com/us/en/cybersecurity/assets/pwc-2018-gsiss-strengthening-digital-society-against-cyber-shocks.pdf

[iii] https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-global-information-security-survey-2018-19/$FILE/ey-global-information-security-survey-2018-19.pdf

[iv] https://www.echoworx.com/project/encryption-in-the-gdpr/

[v] https://www.ey.com/en_gl/advisory/global-information-security-survey-2018-2019

07 Feb 2019
Encryption is about more than technology— it innovates the way we deliver and safeguard our communications

How Secure is Your Encryption Process?

Encryption – sounds secure doesn’t it? It is. But, like any locked door, chest or vault, some things can be even more secure than others, right? Correct.

While out-of-the-box email security products may offer email encryption as a built-in feature as part of a larger bundle, there are natural extensions you might consider to further protect your brand and customers. And, in today’s customer-centric world, where digital trust is easily won, more easily lost and impossible to get back, you need to take every precaution available to protect even encrypted communications.

Here are some ways to add some more muscle to your encryption efforts:

  1. Flexible controls for every scenario 

    Whether you’re sending millions of e-statements or just sending a sensitive document, not every encrypted message is the same. Look for an encryption platform which offers a customizable user experience for both senders and recipients. This ensures you stay in control of your encrypted message in transit or even at rest.

  2. Multiple language and branding options 

    If your organization operates internationally, there’s a high chance that English might not be the mother tongue of some of your customers. Offering encrypted communications in the language of your users helps eliminate confusion and is just good customer service. With Echoworx OneWorld, for example, you can set language policies which can automatically be applied to encrypted communications based on sender, brand, locale or receiver attributes.

  3. A more streamlined user experience 

    Encryption is hot – application of it is not. Echoworx data finds that only 40 per cent of organizations who have encryption capabilities are actually using them throughout their organizational structure. Making encryption a consistent path of least resistance is a good non-intrusive way of getting your employees and customers to communicate securely.

  4. Multiple delivery methods 

    With traditional secure message delivery, where TLS is used, if a TLS connection isn’t available or supported at the recipient’s end, there are only two outcomes: receiving an error or sending a message unencrypted. Supporting multiple secure delivery methods offers effective fallback options – ensuring sensitive data is always able to be sent and is never sent unprotected.

  5. Better password systems 

    While a one-time-password encryption method is secure, the password itself is only as secure is where it is sent. In other words, if both the one-time-password and the encrypted message are sent to the same mailbox, there’s a lot of trust being put into the security of a recipient’s device or email inbox. A natural solution to this issue would be to send the password to the sender, who can then communicate it as they please to the recipient.

The Echoworx Difference

Echoworx innovates the way we encrypt and deliver secure messages. Our OneWorld encryption platform is a natural extension for most existing systems and offers a wide range of flexible, adaptable and dependable encryption delivery methods for use at enterprise-level corporations.

Learn more about Echoworx OneWorld encryption delivery methods.

By Derek Christiansen, Engagement Manager, Echoworx

10 Jan 2019
Multiple encryption methods

How do I choose the right encryption method?

Encryption is an important part of any serious proactive cybersecurity plan. You need it. Your customers demand it. And regulators applaud it.

But one does not simply ‘encrypt.’

In fact, algorithms aside, there are multiple ways to successfully encrypt, package and send sensitive information securely online. Each method has unique benefits and choosing a correct method can make all the difference when it comes down to your customer experience.

But how do you choose an encryption method that is right for your customers?

Here are a few questions to consider:

  1. Why do I need encryption?

    Before choosing a correct method of encryption, you need to determine why you need to encrypt in the first place. What sort of sensitive information are you sending or collecting? In what format? Who are your recipients? What privacy regulations do you need to be aware of? Do your messages need to be encrypted in transit? At rest? Or both? These are just a few questions which can help you begin your encryption journey.

  2. Who are your customers?

    Are your customers tech-savvy? Where are your customers located geographically? Are your customers protected under region-specific privacy regulations? What devices do they operate on? In order to understand which encryption method is right for your customers, you need to determine what exactly is required for communicating securely with them or if further encryption options are needed. If your recipients do not have a TLS connection, for example, multiple secure encryption delivery options are needed to ensure no sensitive information is sent over open channels.

  3. Who are your employees?

    In today’s customer-centric world, you need to ensure all proactive cybersecurity details put your customers first. While this might sound solely like an end-user issue, good customer experience also involves your employees who are interacting with them. You need to ensure encryption is the path of least resistance for any employees sending sensitive customer information – whether internal or to customers direct.

  4. What industry do you operate in?

    When it comes to encryption: One size doesn’t fit all. Different industries have different encryption needs. A large bank, for example, has considerably different demands than a large manufacturer – needing to send millions of secure statements a day as opposed to needing secure communications to collect customer payment information. This needs to be reflected in your decision-making process when choosing an appropriate method of encryption.

  5. What are some common encryption solutions?

    When deciding how to best encrypt a message or document, determine what exact aspect of your message needs to be protected in transit and how you want it to be received by your end user. Here are some common solutions used by different industries:

    B2B Communications: Since it is easy-to-use and effective, provided a connection is available, TLS (Transport Layer Security) is the industry standard for delivering secure emails within B2B environments. In a nutshell, TLS encrypts the connection between two parties, like an encrypted tunnel, enabling secure messages to be sent without additional steps required for the end user.

    Learn more about TLS encryption.

    Banking and Financial Services: Since they send emails frequently that contain confidential financial information, banking and financial services organizations need robust encryption to provide data security and access controls in the event of a cyber-attack. The right encryption solution can also give different departments within the organization better access to and management of sensitive financial data and messages. The PCI DSS standard requires that personal account numbers be encrypted even before emails are sent, so encrypted attachments are a good option here.

    Attachment Encryption is where an attachment is encrypted, as opposed to the entire message body. This type of secure delivery works for one-way messaging, like sending an e-statement, where all the sensitive material can be encapsulated in its native format within a secure encrypted attachment. This type of encryption delivery eliminates the need to convert or download files from different formats – creating a more streamlined user experience.

    Learn more about attachment encryption delivery methods.

    Healthcare Services: Personal information, like patient records, must be exchanged in real-time between healthcare providers, administrators, insurance companies and patients. But, in addition to being a fast and seamless experience, exchanging healthcare information needs to be a secure experience. On account of its portable nature and excellent mobile experience, where recipients are simply sent a notification prompting them to sign in to a secure online portal, without the need for any special software or infrastructure, web portal encryption is popular with many health care providers.

    Learn more about web portal encryption

  6. Seek partnerships which put your customers first

    You just can’t take chances when it comes to handling sensitive personal information online. But, from new privacy regulations with teeth, like the GDPR, to increasingly creative malicious actors online to security-investing competition, staying on top of a cybersecurity program can be challenging for many organizations. But the consequences of falling behind or suffering a breach can cost you time, money and, ultimately, your customers.

 

When you partner with Echoworx, you’re partnering with a full-time team of dedicated encryption specialists. Our job is to make ensure your data stays secure, compliant and that your encryption experience is seamless end-to-end – because good customer service doesn’t end when you press ‘send.’

Learn more about our array of secure encryption delivery methods.

02 Jan 2019
Generation Z, Personal Data and Digital Trust: Unlike Any Before

Generation Z, Personal Data and Digital Trust: Unlike Any Before

Solve this riddle: I am always connected – but avoid social situations. I demonstrate a firm attention to detail – but have the attention span of a goldfish. I freely give out personal information – but demand it be protected. I distrust corporations – but communicate to them as if they were family.

Who am I?

If you guessed a Millennial, you’re on the right track. But these characteristics are more appropriately attributed to members of Generation Z – the first generation of digital natives, born beginning in the mid-90s through the 2000s, set to bloom into the consumer market. And, given that they are to make up a whopping 40 per cent of all consumers by 2020, [1] with $44B in buying power,[2] this is one group your organization needs to prepare for – especially when it comes to data protection.

How does Generation Z share digital information?

As digital natives, Gen Z’s do not know life without being connected to the digital world. And, since most of their life is already online, some even making their first digital selfie appearance via an uploaded ultrasound from the womb, they are much more comfortable with having even their most intimate details available at the click of a mouse. They are ‘always on,’ with some members of Generation Z checking their social media a hundred times a day or more, and this is reflected in how they share digital information.

According to Echoworx data, the level of comfort which Generation Z share personal information online is at-par with or even exceeding those same metrics for Millennials. For example, 56 per cent of Generation Z are not opposed to publishing their credit score on social media. This same metric is considerably lower for Millennials, with 44 per cent being comfortable, and continues to decline through older generations.

Are Generation Z gullible? Or just faster?

The average attention span of a member of Generation Z is 8 seconds, according to data from the Digital Marketing Institute. And, as digital natives, they crave instant gratification for the price of personal data – without much consideration for long-term consequences or questioning what their details are being used for. But, on account of their low attention spans, Gen Z’s are experts at filtering and retaining information presented to them.[3]

So, are they gullible? No. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they are responsible. And their lightning quick digital speed can lead to sloppy practices when it comes to protecting their data. For example, according to Echoworx data, nearly half of Gen Z’s change their digital passwords regularly. Compare this same figure to Millennials, where nearly three quarters of them regularly update their online login credentials.

Are Generation Z reckless with their personal digital data?

In order to understand the point of view of a Gen Z, you need to look at things from their perspective. For example, would you trust your parents with your SIN? Would you ask your sister for advice on the best way to peel an apple? If you answered yes, simply substitute your family member with an online influencer or one of your favourite brands. If you are always on, you live online.

And you trust people you care about to point you in the right direction. This is why Gen Z’s are so comfortable providing details for or taking advice from brands or influencers.

When you look at it from this perspective, readily divulging personal information online is not as crazy as it sounds to older generations.

And older generations are not perfect either. According to a recent Gallup Poll, nearly a quarter of Americans were victims of cybercrime in 2018.[4] This is despite the claim of 71 per cent of poll respondents who worry about cyber crime and the two thirds of Americans, according to data from the American Bankers Association (ABA), who are taking measures to protect sensitive data.[5]

Digital trust is a fragile game to play

Unlike its offline equivalents, digital trust carries its own hubris of sorts in that if it is easy to get, it’s even easier to lose and nearly impossible to get back. In fact, according to Echoworx data, over three quarters of Generation Z consider leaving brands after a data breach. So how do you play the game?

Easy. You protect them.

According to Deloitte, consumer expectations online are at an all-time high and your customers demand control over their personal data. And a full 69 per cent of customers do not believe organizations are doing everything they can to protect their data.[6] But, according to data from the ABA, nearly half of Americans continue to trust traditional industries, like banks and healthcare.[7]

While some might view this newfound fascination with personal data collection to be detrimental to conducting business – your organization should view it as a competitive differentiator. If your brand goes all-out in a quest to protect customer data, employing best proactive practices, such as a personalized and cusotmer focused encryption experience for sensitive documents in transit, your customers will take notice.

Learn more about maintaining the digital trust of your customers.

By Nicholas Sawarna, Sr. Content Marketing Specialist, Echoworx

——

[1] https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-ca/the-insider-3987498273498375892/19-10-16-is-your-business-ready-for-the-rise-of-generation-z?blog

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/kristinwestcottgrant/2018/05/09/data-privacy-social-media-visual-content-adobe-through-the-lens-of-generation-z/#5c812c243a9c

[3] https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-ca/the-insider-3987498273498375892/19-10-16-is-your-business-ready-for-the-rise-of-generation-z?blog

[4] https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2018/12/gallup-poll-quarter-of-americans-victimized-by-cybercrime/

[5] https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2018/12/survey-data-privacy-growing-as-concern-banks-seen-as-trusted/

[6] https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/technology/digital-media-trends-consumption-habits-survey.html

[7] https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2018/12/survey-data-privacy-growing-as-concern-banks-seen-as-trusted/

18 Dec 2018
Digital Onboarding

Accelerating Your Customer Onboarding Through Digital Adoption

With so many digital choices to choose from, traditional client onboarding, which can take weeks, even months to complete is certainly a poor customer experience. Many processes are still manual, time-consuming, expensive and ineffective. And, with fintech snapping at your heels, if you fail to onboard your customers quickly, they might start to consider other more-nimble options.

But moving to digital can carry regulatory risks – especially if your organization is not taking proper privacy precautions with client data. Here’s how you can onboard new clients safely, quickly and, most-importantly, digitally:

Why bother going digital?

In every industry, including finance and banking, customer interactions are increasingly moving to purely digital channels. In order to stay relevant, even large banking and financial service providers must do the same. While technologies such as mobile and digital banking were first adopted by millennials, they are now widely used, by customers of all ages.

In a nutshell: Digital onboarding lets customers choose how, where and when they wish to join your bank.

And, for banks, where customer centricity is paramount, employing digital channels brings personalization and engagement for all their banking customers. The transition to digital also lowers costs and it is easier to measure effectiveness. In fact, according to a recent eMarketer report, the importance of increasing the use of digital channels, among financial institutions, is rapidly outpacing other business objectives, seeing a year-over-year increase of 15 per cent in importance from 2016 to 2017[1]

The importance of protecting customers

A recent Echoworx survey shows that most customers take less than 30 seconds to assess the safety of an email. Yet only 40 per cent of organizations that have encryption technology use it to protect sensitive data. In these instances, fully one third of emails that should be encrypted, are sent in the clear.

Our research shows that 64 per cent of customers are more concerned about their online privacy than a year ago. And 62 per cent don’t trust that their Internet activity is private. Given the number of data breaches in recent months, these figures shouldn’t be a surprise.

Yet customers assume your organization is protecting their interests, and their data. Your customers must be able to trust that their information is secure in your hands. The stakes are high: 80 per cent of customers will consider leaving your organization after a breach.

Additional digital perks for your customers

Implementing digital channels and enabling faster onboarding will also bring other benefits for financial institutions:

  • Reducing the onboarding touch points to complete onboarding faster and more easily. Customers want to complete their onboarding and application journey with the minimum of interactions before they can access services.
  • Faster onboarding means it is less likely that new customers will develop negative impressions about their financial institution.
  • Establishing rapport quickly to provide products and services. Customers are more satisfied when the relationship is put into place immediately.

 

A Scottish case study

The challenge with digital onboarding is to strike the right balance: the process must be easy to use, but document security must be maintained.

One of Scotland’s largest banks came to us with this challenge and the results have been favourable.

After implementing our solution, all their application forms for accounts, loans, mortgages and investments are now emailed as secure PDFs. The customer then fills out the documents and emails them back, also securely. Because the process is digital and uses secured encryption, onboarding can be completed in a few days.

The bank estimates they are reducing the time to onboard new customers by over a week. As a bonus, they have also drastically reduced the postage costs associated with the old onboarding process. Everyone benefits: customers find the onboarding experience easy to navigate, and the bank can trust in the security and integrity of the process.

The Echoworx difference

The Scottish bank example discussed above is just one of the unique ways your financial institution can leverage the power of our OneWorld encryption platform to help streamline your client onboarding processes. With multiple delivery methods and the ability to send millions of secure documents at the click of a mouse, in addition to other perks, like being able to brand your secure communications, OneWorld speeds up your onboarding process, reduces confusing clutter and keeps your banking institution airtight in the eyes of regulators.

Learn more about how we can help your client onboarding process.

By Derek Christiansen, Engagement Manager, Echoworx

———–

[1] https://www.digitalbankingreport.com/trends/2017-account-opening-and-onboarding/

16 Nov 2018
TLS encrypted delivery

Is TLS good enough for secure email?

When it comes to collecting sensitive customer data, you simply cannot afford to take any chances. Your customers trust you and you need to protect them – and their most-personal details. But, while protecting your digital perimeter is important, your organization also needs to ensure sensitive data stays secure during transit.

One way to do this is to leverage a TLS encryption solution. But what exactly is TLS? How does it work? And when is it good enough for secure email?

Here’s what you need to know about TLS:

What is TLS?

In layman’s terms, TLS, short for ‘Transport Layer Security, is a method of encrypting the connection between two parties communicating over the Internet – think of an encrypted tunnel. TLS can be applied to email to prevent unwanted eyes from viewing messages in transit – or from accessing data transmitted between a user and a website. The ease of this type of message encryption makes it one of the more popular types of delivery methods.

When is more message security needed?

TLS is one of the most primary and simple methods of delivering secure messages. But is it secure enough? It depends – you tell us.

Do you have access to alternative encryption methods if a TLS connection is not available? What exactly are your security needs? Are you worried about third-parties, like Google via Gmail, scanning your correspondence? Are you worried about man-in-the-middle attacks, where a secure connection is compromised? These are just a few of the questions you need to address when determining whether TLS is secure enough for you.

How do you get more message security?

While regular TLS-encrypted messages do have their benefits, this delivery method doesn’t always meet every one of your customers’ needs. That’s why Echoworx OneWorld goes further, automatically offering more encryption delivery methods. OneWorld also offers flexibility within the TLS environment – with the ability to create specific policies for using TLS and branded email footers highlighting that a message was delivered securely.

Are there secure alternatives to TLS?

In instances where TLS is not desireable you need to have other options – to ensure no message goes out unencrypted or to a compromised environment. And there are a variety of other secure delivery options available, from public key encryption methods, like S/MIME and PGP, to Secure Web Portals.

Echoworx’s OneWorld encryption platform offers all these options, as well as encrypted attachments. And, since OneWorld checks to see if TLS is available before transit, sensitive messages are never sent unencrypted.

See more secure message delivery methods.

By Christian Peel, VP Engineering, Echoworx

09 Nov 2018
Encryption shouldnt be cryptic

Encryption Shouldn’t Be a Cryptic Experience!

Encryption, encryption and more encryption – the security buzz word on the tip of everyone’s tongue. In an increasingly treacherous digital landscape, protecting your data with airtight algorithms seems like a logical strategy, yes?

Absolutely.

But making the decision to encrypt confidential emails that are leaving your secure network is about more than just encryption.  The algorithms are not the differentiator when comparing various secure email solutions.  You can find 2048-bit RSA encryption, 256-bit AES encryption, in SHA2 signatures in almost all modern security products.

The component of the solution that does the encryption and decryption is (most of the time at least) solid and predictable.  But sitting on top of that core security is the more interesting topic.  Controlling which emails need encryption, the different types of delivery, the simplicity of registration, the look and feel (known as “branding”) of the emails and web site, are the real differentiators of a 1st class secure email solution.

As Director of Client Engagement at Echoworx, a recognized leader in secure digital communication, it is my job to help enterprise-level organizations understand how email encryption fits into their business model. And for me, this starts with helping them create a seamless end-to-end experience for their clients.

When I work with a new enterprise, a little time is always necessary to cover the basic security aspects of the platform.  However, you may be surprised to learn that much more time is spent on fine-tuning the customer experience to align with the enterprises goals and expectations.  Secure email becomes an integral part of the communications strategy for the entire business.  It needs to look authentic, and use phrases and terminology that match the company’s web site and advertising.

Also important to consider is how varied the recipients of secure email will be.  A grandmother at home with minimal computer experience who needs everything explained in detail, versus a tech-savvy millennial that expects efficiency and automation.  The same secure email experience is used for both, so it had better not alienate anyone!

Your clients are unique, but they all need to trust you with their most personal data, and they will leave you if you lose it. A recent Echoworx survey, for example, found a full 80 per cent of customers consider leaving a brand after a data breach. That’s no small figure.

So how do we achieve this perfect blend of secure email that is still easy to read and send?

For the employees of your company, they don’t want any extra steps or separate systems.  If it’s inconvenient, they won’t use it.  Fortunately, your corporate network is already secure with firewalls, access controls, and native security in your mail server.  So let the encryption happen as the email is about to leave your network (commonly called the “gateway” or “boundary”).

It is the recipient who needs to work with the encrypted version of that email, and the best way to make them happy is to send it in the format they understand. A business partner should receive transparent encryption (called TLS); while a customer receiving a monthly statement should have a secure PDF attachment.  A European bank may demand PGP emails since the employees have PGP software running on their desktops.  The secure email platform should figure this out based on policies you define during initial customization of the service.

If you’re doing business internationally, you also want to be aware of local jurisdictional laws and regulations. In our post-GDPR world, you know where and how you store your clients’ data matters. But don’t forget to consider how your communications will reach people in many non-English speaking countries.  Here’s another example of that usability layer that lives above the actual encryption.

You want your clients to feel at home with you and comfortable sending sensitive information through encrypted channels. A confused customer is likely to second guess the validity of a secure message and may be more susceptible to scams. Investing in data privacy is not only good for your brand – it’s good customer service.

When done right, it’s “plain and simple!”

By Sarah Happé, Director of Client Engagement, Echoworx

25 Oct 2018
Moving PGP to the cloud

Moving Your PGP to the Cloud? Here’s What You Need to Know

Is PGP encryption part of your secure messaging strategy? Are you currently hosting this system on-premise? Ever thought about moving your PGP email encryption to the cloud? It may sound daunting, but, with the right tools and services, moving to the cloud is an investment to consider for you and your customers.

An on-premise PGP system is resource intensive, and requires software installed on your workstation and servers. The demand on your IT department can be considerable – migrating it to the cloud can take a lot of strain off your staff.

Here are a few points to consider if you are thinking of making the move:

Email encryption should be more than just adequate

We have a responsibility to protect the sensitive messages that we send, and we need to do it in a way that doesn’t get in the way of doing business.

An effective email encryption solution has five main qualities:

  • It is easy to implement
  • It can scale to keep up with growing demands and sudden bursts in email volumes
  • It is feature rich, standards-based and current, supporting encryption technologies widely used today
  • It is jurisdictionally aware, so messages sent from the EU, for example, aren’t stored in or sent through the U.S. or other jurisdictions which might compromise compliance with GDPR rules
  • It is operated securely by a trusted vendor which is dedicated to security

Legacy systems shouldn’t stop you moving to the cloud

Moving an on-premise PGP system to the cloud is not only possible, these legacy systems can actually be migrated without disruption, a critical business consideration if your organization sends large numbers of secure messages daily. And you gain access to additional secure delivery methods, like the ability to send messages via web portal, and additional features, like the ability to custom brand encrypted messages.

Key management without the management

According to the thirteenth encryption study commissioned by Thales to the Ponemon Institute, key management continues to be a major pain-point for 57 per cent of organizations. And many of these organizations report they continue to manually manage their key process. This is not a new stat. In fact, key management has remained a consistent pain-point year over year! Moving to the cloud allows you to simplify your key management process – and automate it.

Why use Security as a Service?

In today’s climate, businesses must scale quickly to meet everchanging demands. Security threats are always evolving, and technology continues to transform at a rapid pace. New developments such as mobile computing, the Internet of Things, Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service are leading to fundamental changes in the way businesses operate.

Working with a cloud Security as a Service provider can bring many benefits. Sheila Jordan, CIO at Symantec, for example, points out that while IT and technology investments can be used to operate and grow a company, the list of tasks to be performed will always be greater than the resources and funds available. IT is often seen as an easy place to cut costs, and in response, CIOs “must prioritize the demands that most directly affect the profitability and financial goals of the company.” CIOs are responsible not only for protecting data, but also for helping companies use that data to generate actionable insights. Moving to the cloud lets organizations track and report in real time.[1]

Thinking about Security as a Service? Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is your risk profile?
  • Is there a specific crisis you’re responding to?
  • Do you have a clear plan in place?

 

Once the decision to move to the cloud has been made, choose your vendor carefully. Don’t look for a single point solution: if you do, you might find that the solution you’ve chosen has quickly become obsolete or is not the sole focus of a bigger product. Look to your new partner to educate and train your teams and guide your company through the process. Most importantly, get to know the team you’ll be working with, as good relationships can make the difference when dealing with a crisis.

Sheila Jordan from Symantec puts it best: “When you work with a partner that understands your business and where you are headed, they can offer global support and solutions that will grow with your organization. The right partners will always be customer-focused, doing everything in their power to drive your company forward.”

See how easy it is to migrate your PGP to the cloud.

By Christian Peel, VP Engineering, Echoworx

———

[1] Sheila Jordan, “Security as a Service,” in Canadian Cybersecurity 2018: An Anthology of CIO/CISO Enterprise-Level Perspectives, ed. Ajay K. Sood (Toronto: CLX Forum, 2018), 23-45.

12 Jun 2018
privacy protection

One Hot Mess: Encryption, Dating and the Betterment of Privacy Protection

Would you feel comfortable sending personal information over email without encryption? Feel shy answering ‘Yes?’ You’re not alone. In fact, nearly 50 per cent of people choose to share sensitive personal information online. And our trust on the people and companies we send them to is often taken for granted.

You might be surprised to learn just how exposed your customers really are.

In a recent survey of IT professionals and IT decision-makers, conducted by Echoworx, a clear vein of importance attributed to encryption emerged, with 75 per cent of respondents answering ‘yes’ to whether their organization has an encryption strategy. But, as less than half these same respondents answered in the affirmative that their organizations are indeed using encryption extensively, the actual application of it is questionable.

In other words: That personal information your customers are providing to a whole motley crew of banks, healthcare professionals and government bodies? There’s a chance their recipients, who might even be your own staff, are storing it unfiltered, accessible, and unprotected on their servers.

Barriers that are Preventing More Extensive Use of EncryptionShocking, right?

To help understand the other side of the coin, we posed questions to consumers on their willingness to provide personal information both digitally and on first dates. The results were startling – with respondents more than willing to provide personal info, from their full name to their SIN card in both situations.

Encryption is hot infograph
What the findings from our Encryption Survey reveal
about our perspective on data privacy. Learn more.

So what?

When blended together, we are left with two narratives telling a tale of two cities. And it’s messy, but not as cryptic as it seems. Rather there appears to be more a disconnect between our willingness to adopt encryption and our actual application of it in our working lives.

Over half the IT professionals surveyed, for example, responded favourably to adopting encryption – outlining the privacy technology as very important or crucial to their organizations. And nearly three quarters of this group indicated that are actively building encryption strategies. Seems progressive?

And then the reality hits: only half of them are in it for the betterment of information privacy. The other half, almost a clear-cut 50 per cent, admit they advocate for encryption to satisfy privacy regulations and avoid expensive breaches – not because they are actually concerned about protecting sensitive customer data.

The lack of enthusiasm for encryption application permeates through their entire organizations – with only 40 per cent of organizations using their existing encryption technology extensively. And the area they do emphasize encryption, in external communications, is seemingly not enough given that many organizations are now moving their email servers to the cloud – which makes even internal communications external in nature.

And yet customers continue to trust you without encryption

While three quarters of customers know what encryption means and why it exists, 45 per cent of them continue to send personal details via open email – and they put a lot of trust into the people they send them to. Take the safety of an email, for example. Despite the rise in spear phishing, and other email-related attacks mining for personal data, the average person evaluates the safety of an email in under thirty seconds.

Would you give up your personal data to someone in the street in under 30 seconds? Sounds crazy, but according to survey data, the average person might. Did you know, for example, that nearly a quarter of people are likely to share their real birth date, email address, full name and phone number on the first date? And these concerning figures are even more pronounced with men – 12 per cent of whom are just as likely to disclose their SIN card number on a first date as they are to brag about their salary.

And it doesn’t stop there.

When it comes to online forms, over three quarters of your customers admit to providing sensitive personal information. And, considering they take half a minute to inspect the safety of an online form, the amount of details they provide is startling.

Did you know, for example, that over 10 per cent of your customers are comfortable providing their bank PIN number through an online form? Or that a further 34 per cent of them have given their SIN card number? And that a small, but more trusting, 5 per cent willingly disclose their passport number when prompted by faceless forms?

But, at the end of the day, why does this matter to your business?

Data breaches are expensive messes to clean up and they happen more often than you think – with nearly a quarter of people admitting to having had their personal information stolen. In addition to massive fines pushing into the tens of millions of dollars, and drawn out class action lawsuits, a high-profile breach can cause irreparable damage to your brand trust.

Providing your customers and employees with a concise yet complex high-performing encryption solution can help alleviate some privacy woes in your organization – especially for mobile. Newer encryption platforms integrate easily with existing IT systems and offer multiple flexible methods of protecting information in transit.

In summary, encryption matters, and IT professionals get this – even if their reasons lie primarily in the bottom line of compliancy. But actually applying encryption throughout your organization is a different issue altogether and relies on making your privacy process more streamlined and less of a hassle for users. But the payoffs of preparing for privacy are huge – and your efforts will be noticed.

Check out some of the creative ways organizations are using our Echoworx OneWorld encryption platform to help ensure the safe transit of everything from bulk delivery of millions of e-statements to sensitive onboarding documents for new clients. The proactive applications of encryption are endless, and can be automated, for when your employees’ behaviour can’t be.

By Nicholas Sawarna, ‎Sr. Content Marketing Specialist, Echoworx