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Email Privacy and Security. No, Really.

Once in a while, a cybersecurity-related story breaks out that causes us to do whatever it takes to ensure we’re not the next victim. The most recent example of this is the case of the “unclaimed Mac computer,” in which a computer technician leaked emails stored on the hard drive.

We know that computer technicians need to access a system’s software to perform necessary repairs, but sensitive emails should never be part of that process. So, how do we guarantee the privacy we need?

Both Office 365’s Exchange Online and Google’s G-Suite have robust privacy features. Still, unless you are a solopreneur who handles everything in your company, you probably have a technician or business partner who shares in email administration duties. So, where can you hide email when you want absolutely no one else to see it?

There’s a relatively new and innovative solution for genuinely private messaging, a place where email can hide from prying eyes, named ProtonMail.

Check out the 4-minute video on ProtonMail

Let’s walk through a few of ProtonMail’s security features.

End-To-End Encryption – Protection of email while in transit (during transmission) and at rest (stored on the ProtonMail server)

Zero-Access Encryption – Protection of email from anyone except the owner, meaning ProtonMail server technicians and anyone who happens to breach ProtonMail’s servers will not be able to read emails.

Swiss Jurisdiction – According to Protonmail’s website, “As ProtonMail is outside of US and EU jurisdiction, only a court order from the Cantonal Court of Geneva or the Swiss Federal Supreme Court can compel us to release the extremely limited user information we have.”

Self-Destructing Emails – You can set an expiration date on emails before sending them, which causes them to disappear from the recipient’s inbox once the date is reached.

Password protection of individual messages – You can use the “lock” icon in the lower left of any compose window to set a password on a per-message basis.

Auto-Lock – You can set ProtonMail to request a password each time you start the app.

Security Log – You can find this feature in the security settings panel of the ProtonMail web app. ProtonMail records who and what app accessed email.

Two-Factor Authentication – This is, of course, available, and we highly recommend it.

Custom Domains – Paid accounts will allow you to incorporate a specific number of your domains (myemail.com).

ProtonMail works with Outlook for PC or Mac, iOS devices such as iPhones, iPads, and iTouch devices, Android devices, and commonly used browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge Chromium.

The features above are by no means an exhaustive list of but enough to make an introduction. As to where ProtonMail fits into your digital life, I’d say it’s best used as a personal, private email account you can use for highly sensitive email such as communication with your CPA, attorney, physician, and the like. It’s a great side act to your corporate email system, which is not necessarily 100% private.

As always, I’m eager to know how tech life is going on your end, so don’t hesitate to give me a shout!

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