Steps To Help You Choose The Perfect Secure Email Provider
Choosing a secure email provider can become an overwhelming and daunting task regardless of the size of the company, number of employees, business industry, etc. You have to take into account the allocated budget, the type of encryption needed, the compliance requirements that need to be met, and the simplicity of the application, so that your employees can easily use the software without tedious setup tasks or a steep learning curve.
That’s a lot of information that needs to be processed and managed before making your final decision. Fortunately, we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of what the best secure email providers all do right… and what some of the very worst may have in common.
We hope this best helps to inform, educate, and expedite your selection!
When choosing a secure email provider, always make sure they do the following…
1. Meet Compliance Requirements
First and foremost, you’ll want to find a secure email solution that complies with the regulations you’re required to meet. Each secure email solution is different; this means that if you’re looking for a HIPAA compliant email solution, you won’t want to choose the solution that specializes in FINRA email compliance.
Now, it’s not uncommon to find a secure solution that meets multiple requirements. For example, you may find a secure email provider that gives you various industry options. For example, a medical / HIPAA compliant email solution for the healthcare industry or a financial industry GLBA compliant & FINRA compliant email solution for the financial industry.
It’s important to remember that better understanding what your compliance requirements truly are before choosing your secure email solution is a critical first step to take. This way you can identify the solution that best fits your needs.
2. Sign A Business Associate Agreement
If you’re a HIPAA-regulated organization, you’ll need to choose a secure email provider that will willingly sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA). A Business Associate Agreement is a contract that both parties sign that relieves any responsibility or culpability if something were to happen to the sensitive information that is sent across the secure email platform.
For example, if a data breach were to strike the secure email provider, therefore, exposing all of your client’s sensitive data to a third-party, your company would not be held responsible for the breach. The secure email provider would be at fault for the breached information and would be penalized accordingly.
You can check out the Department of Health & Human Services’ explanation and example of a Business Associate Agreement for further information.
3. Provide 24/7 Customer Support
Secure email solutions can appear to be intricate, foreign processes for inexperienced internet / tech-users. It’s not necessarily because secure email solutions are complicated or even more difficult to use, but more so that they’re just different enough from your standard email platforms that they may feel unfamiliar. Plus, we all know that change — specifically regarding a new digital territory — is similar to a war of attrition… it’s going to take some time to get used to.
This is why it’s important to find out which secure email providers provide a 24/7 customer support team. And don’t just take their word for it, test it out. Submit a support ticket after-hours or on the weekend. If they can resolve the issue in a timely manner during your trial, you’ll likely have no issues contacting customer support after you’ve become a customer.
We also highly recommend that you choose a company that offers a US-based customer support team.
4. Offer A Simple & Easy Setup Process
The absolute last thing you’ll want to do, after finally choosing a secure email provider, is run through a gauntlet of technical setup / installation procedures. This is especially true if you’re setting up more than one secure email account, so make sure that the setup process is either taken care of by the secure email provider or is relatively simple.
We recommend that you ask for a free trial or free account of some sort to get the feel of how difficult or easy the process may be. Not all secure email providers will provide a free trial, but it’s always worth asking; if closing the sale is that important to them, they’ll make an exception.
If the secure email provider publicly discloses that their solution integrates with a specific email platform or third-party software, test it out for yourself before committing to that provider. Testing all functionality and disclosed offerings within the solution is an important step that you won’t to skip over, so make sure to do your due diligence.
5. Have Experience Encrypting Email
Finally, when choosing a secure email provider, do some digging on the background of the company: verify their history and any legacy that they may have, read customer and employee reviews on the product and company itself, and see how long they’ve been encrypting / protecting email. You wouldn’t want to purchase a secure email solution that hasn’t been proven to meet compliance requirements or protect your information from a significant attack.
It’s also worth noting that you’re putting your secure information in the hands of another company — choosing a secure email provider shouldn’t be a frivolous purchase decision. You want a verified, trusted product from a company that knows what they’re doing, and ultimately, can prove it. So, take your time, weigh your options, and choose the secure email provider that passes your own specific requirements checklist, in addition to these five best practices to follow.
We’re confident you’ll make the right choice if you follow these five steps, so get out there and find the secure email solution that works best for you!
Written by Peter J. Schaub
President & CEO, NeoCertified