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Email security

Posted on 2004-08-11
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Last Modified: 2010-04-11
I have been asked by my employer to research what can be done to implement a more secure email service into the company network. Currently the network, which runs on Windows Adv Server 2000, uses Exchange Server 5.5 and each member of staff has their own individual internal and external address which they can access using Outlook. It is going to be become necessary in the next few months for the company to start sending out confidential documents through email such as scans of medical files and emails containing other confidential information. What is the best way that I can go about securing the output from the office? Is there any secure hosting that you can recommend (I am based in the UK) or or would I be better off arranging for digital certificates to be purchased for the individual email accounts (such as that offered by verisign)? Any help you can offer me would be greatly appreciated :)
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Question by:EdMacFly
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5 Comments
 
LVL 51

Accepted Solution

by:
ahoffmann earned 2000 total points
ID: 11772922
> .. confidential documents ..
there is only one secure method to transfer them: encryption
means each user need to have a key, I'd recommend PGP/GPG, and encrypt the mail with the addressees public key.
You need propper software on each client plugged in into aotlook. GPG can do this http:/www.gnupg.org/
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

by:Cyber-Dude
ID: 11773210
Use the following architecture:

Server<=>Exchange<=>Firewall<=>DMZ-Mail Server<====>WAN.........WAN<=>FW Client<=>Staff laptop.

If you wish to send secured e-Mails to your clients, you may use a FW system along with a VPN clinet (on the client side) and that is to open a secured tunnlled sesion. While this session is ON than the client wont have the ability to surf the web but Just to get external company's mail...

If you want to further develop the idea (along with the prevention of laptop theef using IPSec architecture...just speak to me... and I'll provide you with all the stuff you need - like Sid Barret)...

Cyber
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LVL 31

Expert Comment

by:rid
ID: 11774834
Security....

What are the main risks that you perceive here?
1) E-mail transmission being sniffed? => Encryption.
2) Unauthorized reading of documents in the receiving end? => Encryption or password-protected files.
3) Confidential files being mailed away, unbeknownst to you, by a virus? => Migrate from windows/outlook/exchange to something else.

I'd say the second weakest link is network and system vulnerability, so a changeover to less vulnerable software in the e-mail and internet browsing department is a good idea (Mozilla instead of Internet Explorer, Pegasus instead of Outlook etc). The weakest link is often the people involved. Users who do not lock their workstations during breaks, as an example, or users leaving opened documents on screen when going away, stuff like that. When you have people-related issues under control you can begin thinking of transmission security.
/RID
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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:agundrum
ID: 11780692
I fully agree with implementing all of the above solutions but, if security is that big of an issue with these documents, why not consider the postal service.  The highest level of internet security is not using the internet!
~~points to RID, just taking it one step farther.~~
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Tim Holman
ID: 11791856
Get a good, easy to implement email encryption solution from www.ciphertrust.com, or similar.

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