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Encrypted email

Posted on 2013-01-15
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Last Modified: 2013-01-22
We currently use ZixMail for encrypted email.   In our enviornment, we have about 10 users that at times need to send email encrypted.   Does anyone have any other vendors or software packages that they would recommend?
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Question by:bankwest
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Dave Howe earned 500 total points
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Zixmail is a good choice, but if you are looking for alternatives, its probably best to see what your potential correspondents can support.

s/mime is the first ever used (back when it was called Privacy Enhanced Mail or PEM) and is based around X509 certificates just like HTTPS is. The technology is identical, meaning that you often find you must pay for a CA issued cert in order for potential correspondents to trust you (and that's per recipient). Strong point is that it is already built into the email solution you already have, so no further software installation is required.  

pgp (now openpgp as a standard) is another early runner - similar setup to s/mime (in that each sender must already have the recipient's key in order to encrypt) but using a user-driven trust model instead of the more commercial CA "Top down assertion of trust" model. Note that twice in the last year, that trust turned out not to be well founded, so the model of pgp (user assertion of trust, with you able to decide who you trust to assert trust, who to trust how to *assert* who to trust, and so forth) is being examined as a replacement in the HTTPS world now.
Its slow and complex to set up (plus requires more software, which you might need to pay for) but is a more open trust solution.

If you and all the people you talk to have your own mailservers, it may be worth looking at just using TLS over SMTP - by encrypting the *channel* between your server and theirs, you can ensure that the mail itself is never sent unencrypted between you, even if the mails themselves are never individually encrypted to a given recipient.

Finally, ZixMail is one of the cheaper options in the "oracle based" encryption market (ie. solutions that don't require the recipient to supply you a key in advance) however cisco (with their Ironport/CRES solution), Microsoft (with their "Hosted Email Encryption" FOPE component) and PGP (with their universal gateway) are all strong players in this space.
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