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The Importance of S/MIME in Securing Sensitive Information

Created: 09 Mar 2015 • Updated: 16 Mar 2015
Ryan Terry's picture
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No doubt your organization goes to great lengths to keep sensitive information secure. But if you’re like many organizations, you have a weak spot – the potential for company emails to be intercepted and the information contained in them falling into the wrong hands. This weakness suffers even greater risk exposure as more of your workforce goes mobile, sending and receiving emails with their various mobile devices while out in the wild beyond the secure borders of your network infrastructure.

The truth is that unsecured emails can be easily read by anyone monitoring the network used by your mobile users. Those emails can even be hijacked for criminal purposes, whether it’s to modify their contents or inject malware, and then forwarded on to the intended recipients without them ever becoming aware that your emails have been hacked.

As an IETF standard, S/MIME was developed specifically to solve for these threats to your business email. The basis of S/MIME is that it lets you create and send trusted and secure email messages. It uses a digital ID (also called a certificate) that digitally signs the email message to let the recipient know that the email is really from who it says it is and that no one has tampered with the email. The digital ID can also be used to encrypt the email message before it’s ever sent from a computer or mobile device, making it impossible for anyone to read the message contents except for its intended recipient.

In spite of the at-risk position they leave their organization in, too many IT directors and managers put off taking the steps to adequately secure their emails with S/MIME. Some don’t take advantage of S/MIME digital IDs and encryption because they have the misperception that they’re difficult to use or will slow down performance on users’ devices. The truth is once it’s set up, S/MIME is fairly transparent to the users and any impact on device performance is nominal.

However, the majority of those who have put off taking advantage of S/MIME in the mobile world have done so because in the past S/MIME has been difficult for users to set up and configure. The difficulty in trying to educate and help users with this initial setup multiplies and magnifies when you’re dealing with a vast array of different mobile devices from different device manufacturers using different versions of different mobile operating systems with different native and third-party email apps that all rely on different S/MIME implementations.

The good news is that the difficulty of setting up S/MIME on mobile devices is a thing of the past with Symantec Work Mail. Work Mail works and behaves the same across all your users’ different iOS and Android devices. Users don’t have to jump through a bunch of confusing steps to enable secure email. Regardless of mobile device, setting up S/MIME with Work Mail requires two simple clicks.

By significantly simplifying setup and usage, Symantec Work Mail dramatically increases your user adoption of S/MIME, your security posture and your ability to comply with organizational and industry security standards. And because of the ubiquitous and trusted nature of the Primary Certificate Authority (PCA) used by Symantec Work Mail, most, if not all, of the email applications used by your email recipients will work seamlessly with Work Mail’s digital IDs.

When it comes to S/MIME, Symantec Work Mail delivers consumer class usability with enterprise class security and productivity. With how vital it is to secure your organization’s sensitive information and how easy Work Mail makes it to use S/MIME there’s really no good reason to delay taking advantage of its ability to secure your email.