Businesses across every industry depend upon email as an indispensable method of communication, helping customers, clients, employees, partners, vendors, and more interact. With private and confidential information being communicated over email every day, it should come as little surprise that email encryption tools like S/MIME have become an important part of organizational security.
Using encryption and digital signatures remains the best way to ensure the integrity and privacy of email communications. Tools like S/MIME allow the user to verify that the email really came from the supposed sender, to detect whether the content of the email—or any attachments within—has been changed in any way, and to proceed with the confidence that no one other than its intended recipient could have read the email.
These features represent important weapons in the fight against business email compromise (BEC) fraud. Digital certificates also play a critical role in helping organizations comply with regulatory requirements worldwide, such as the strict GDPR requirements that organizations operating in Europe must meet. S/MIME presents an elegant solution: using S/MIME for this type of encryption allows both the sender and recipient to utilize their existing S/MIME-capable email applications, while other solutions would likely require a new, separate email application or the use of a cumbersome web portal which requires the recipient to perform the risky operation to click on a link in an email. S/MIME represents email security made easy. S/MIME ensures the email is encrypted on the sender and recipient mail servers; an important layer of defense, especially when the mail server is in the cloud.
The Costs of NOT Automating Deployment
While automated certificate management is not a requirement of S/MIME, it is a feature that is highly recommended. Enabling employees to share the burden of managing certificates may save a small amount of money in the short run, but problems will almost certainly arrive in the long run. One Sectigo customer described the experience of forgoing automatic certificate management:
The difficulty associated with manual certificate management led this customer to seek out a zero-touch solution from Sectigo, eventually incorporating automatic certificate management and installation into their solution. In most cases, setting up this automation costs less than a single support call—and saves the valuable time of employees no longer forced to manually manage their S/MIME certificates.
The expense of lost employee productivity is also notable. For instance, if a junior attorney at a law firm (who charges clients $240/hour) spends at least a half hour of billable time struggling to install a digital certificate on her iPhone, and support (paid $100/hour) takes the same amount of time to troubleshoot an incomplete or confused install, the firm has spent $170 simply to deploy one digital certificate—more than 5x the cost of a zero-touch S/MIME certificate that could have automatically been provisioned to the user.
Preventing Painful Problems
Without automation, the risk of exposure due to human error skyrockets. How does automation help? Here are some of the most common problems caused by manual certificate management, most (if not all) of which can be addressed with effective automation:
Some vendors claim to offer encryption key backup, but it requires the customer to implement it at their facility at an additional hidden cost.
These issues can be frustrating for users, and clearly illustrate the ways in which ineffective certificate management can negatively impact both the security and reliability of an organization’s communications.
S/MIME is an important and easy-to-use email encryption tool, and the addition of zero-touch S/MIME will make the process of installing and renewing the many certificates in an organization simpler, and more cost-effective, than ever.
Watch the Sectigo Zero-Touch Deployment S/MIME product video to learn more.