Whats the most secure way to send a confidential file via email?


We want to send patient data to other hospitals / doctors via email on a infrequent basis(or other way if easily implemented).

This data must be sent in the most secure manner possible within reason, we are currently looking into sending it via a encrypted password protected WinZip file, which i believe is more secure than a password protected word file but still easily breakable. With the additional problem of the end user not having WinZip then they cant open it. (if we purchase an additional component for WinZip we can create a self extractable encrypted file but this does not resolve the weakness of the files)

What would be the best way it implement a secure method to email the patient data to other Hospitals or Doctors?

Additional note: UK private hospital NOT on N3 / NHS.

Thanks for your help.


PS: Have tried the Uk government (HMRC/DOD) method of leaving disk/laptop on the some random  bus or train hoping it will get there - dosen't seam to work. (just kidding)
Who is Participating?
Hello Cromwellhospital,

the most secure way is to use GPG http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Privacy_Guard and some mix system http://www.mixminion.net/


If emailing is a must and not secure file transfer (via say SSH) I would agree with xRalf's suggestion of GnuPG :)


Well it all depends on what you've got on the receivers side.

If they are willing to use gnupg you are done. If not winzip is a good approach.
Creating Active Directory Users from a Text File

If your organization has a need to mass-create AD user accounts, watch this video to see how its done without the need for scripting or other unnecessary complexities.

CromwellhospitalAuthor Commented:
The recievers side will vary immensely (webmail or outlook or o express - xp or full exchage server) and it can range from a doctor sitting in France to a 1000 user PCT hospital.

Our soloution needs to have  a way that relies on us providing a way that caters for all these situations.

Does any one know how hi-security / goverment organisations would achieve this?
The usual way to achieve high security is to use public key cryptography. Maybe it would be useful to employ some security specialist in your organization, make some security policy etc. High security is really very complex topic that needs specialist.

Try to study GPG for the beginning.
As has been proved recently, high security organisations like the inland revenue and government in the UK just burn unencrypted data to a CD and pop it in an envelope (possibly with big red letters stamped on saying "confidential and valuable data - please do not steal this).  This seems to be adequate encryption for the powers that be....

All joking aside though - I don't think there's anything that is particularly secure AND user friendly.  I have seen this https://lockbin.com/ before though, but can't vouch for it's stability/security - but it might be worth investigating further...

The best way would undoubtedly be using GnuPG though if you can cope with the massive exercise of getting your recipients to install and configure correctly....
Another approach could be to provide files on an ftp server http://www.g6ftpserver.com/ is HIPAA Compliant.

Advantage the enduser doesn't have to install any special software can just use the webbrowser.

Chances are there are regulations governing the protection of personal data. In Canada there is anyway.
Before you settle on any solution, consult with these regulations so that you are compliant and thus reduce your liability. At least you would have plausible deniability should there be a leak.
You need to maintain standards among doctors. I mean you must use same program or web mail service throughout your network. For web-mail service, use HushMail. The condition is that the other user must also use HushMail. The advantage is end-to-end encrypted mailing. You don't need to encrypt any mail. You just type plain text and send mail.

Hush has other services too. Please visit: www.hushmail.com
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.