The privacy of individuals has always been important, but in today’s world encryption and privacy are more important than they’ve ever been before. With recent data leaks and breaches involving major companies, customer privacy has become a top priority for businesses. Wise companies take a proactive approach to protect sensitive information, and encryption is one of the best ways to secure data. Encryption encodes data so that it is hidden or inaccessible to users who are not authorized. If you are a G Suite user, then you may be wondering is G Suite email encrypted? Today I’ll take a look into G Suite email encryption and share how you can improve the security of your Gmail account.
G Suite Email Encryption
So, let’s get into it and talk Gmail encryption within G Suite.
Is G Suite Email Encrypted?
Yes. G Suite email is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS).
This is a protocol that securely encrypts and delivers inbound and outbound mail while disabling eavesdropping between mail servers. Most major email providers use TLS. Gmail users emailing another party using a mail service that also uses TLS will have their message encrypted. An encryption report generated by Gmail users can identify how many messages in their domain were encrypted using TLS.
What Does This Mean in Plain English?
This means that it is extremely challenging for someone to view a message while en route from party A to party B. However, it does not guarantee the privacy of that message. Nor does it guarantee that it will only be accessible to the intended recipient once it reaches the destination mail server.
For example, Google can view messages connected to your account in order to look for potential spam and phishing attacks. Google can also scan emails to offer users advanced features.
It is also important to keep in mind that both parties must use a TLS-supported mail server to encrypt messages. Any mail sent to a party not using a TLS-supported mail server will not be encrypted at all.
Paid G Suite account administrators can decide that only encrypted messages will be sent or received. However, this does have its own set of pros and cons.
Let’s take a closer look at that.
Enhanced G Suite Email Encryption
An enhanced form of encryption, beyond basic encryption, is available for paid G Suite Enterprise and Education accounts.
This enhanced standard is known as Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME). S/MIME allows users to set up compliance and routing rules. The requirement is that outgoing messages are signed and encrypted with S/MIME. It also enables encryption with user-specific keys. This allows emails to stay secure during delivery and can only be decrypted by the intended party.
Similar to TLS, with S/MIME both the sender and the recipient have to use supported mail servers. Also, as an added layer of protection, S/MIME encryption requires both the sender and the recipient to exchange keys in advance. This ensures proper configuration.
Also, like TLS, once the message reaches the recipient server using S/MIME, there is no guarantee of message security.
S/MIME does provide a digital signature to ensure that the sender’s email was the actual email address used to send the email.
G Suite admins must enable S/MIME in order to utilize it.
What About Gmail Confidentiality Mode?
Another method for added security is using Confidentiality Mode in Gmail.
This feature prevents someone from forwarding, copying, printing, and downloading anything you send to them. Users also have the option of setting an expiration date. The expiration date allows users to set a date after which the email is no longer accessible. This allows users to create a passcode for opening the email.
Users should be mindful that this feature could potentially cause a false sense of security.
Confidential Mode does not involve encryption. Nor does it provide a higher level of security or privacy (and it isn’t part of what makes G Suite HIPAA compliant). Google has stated that this feature is less about security and more about preventing accidental sharing of sensitive information. This is known as Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
Additional G Mail Encryption
Although G Suite email is encrypted in many ways, users have the option of adding additional email encryption.
Email encryption software provides an added level of protection that businesses can take to ensure the privacy and security of their sensitive data.
There are several options available for additional encryption software, look for one that best suits the needs of your business.