by Kapua Iao
Article filed in

What is zero-step email encryption?

by Kapua Iao

White outline of an envelope with a padlock in the bottom right corner, on a dark blue background.

Zero-step email encryption is exactly what it sounds like: email encryption that is applied automatically each and every time an email is sent or received. No extra steps or passwords, and no portals to navigate.

Before examining the concept of zero-step email encryption, let’s take a look at what email security and encryption mean under HIPAA and why both are crucial.

What is email security?

Email security refers to comprehensive cybersecurity measures that ensure email correspondence is protected from unauthorized access.

Email is the number one threat vector (i.e., the weakest link) in any computer system. If a person falls victim to an email phishing attempt, for example, hackers may obtain access to his or her email account and subsequently an entire network.

The main reason email is so vulnerable is human error. People can easily be exploited through social engineering schemes.

RELATED: Recognizing and Blocking a Malicious Email

Moreover, especially in the healthcare industry, workplace stress and mental fatigue further augment human error and the possibility of a data breach.

This is even more true today, with the increase of remote working and telehealth because of the pandemic.

RELATED: Coronavirus Cyberattacks: How to Protect Yourself

Ultimately, the best approach to email security is to utilize layers of protection. Strong email security would include sound policies, access controls, antivirus software, and filters, to name a few. And of course, email encryption.

Is email encryption necessary?

Proper encryption protocols ensure secure communication. Email encryption protects sensitive information (e.g., PHI) so that no one besides the sender and the intended recipient will be able to read an email.

The most effective and modern type of email encryption is Transport Layer Security (TLS). TLS protocol encrypts every type of Internet traffic, including web, email, and usenet.

RELATED: Paubox Eliminates Obsolete TLS Protocols, Follows NSA Guidance

According to HIPAA, encryption needs are specified by two main terms: required and addressable. All required elements need to be included within a cybersecurity program while those that are addressable do not.

RELATED: HIPAA Email Encryption Requirements: What You Need to Know

If after a risk assessment a covered entity determines email encryption is not appropriate, its next step would be to document and find another applicable solution.

However, there actually is no suitable alternative. Email encryption is not just a prudent method of protection; it’s essential to prevent human error and hacking.

Zero-step actually means zero-step

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get an employee to use encrypted email properly if there are extra steps to perform or additional information to remember.

Who wants to log into a second website or patient portal to read a quick message?

RELATED: Why Email Is Better than Patient Portals

Paubox believes that the best way to send HIPAA compliant email doesn’t require senders or receivers to do anything extraordinary—where we can communicate through email with zero extra steps.

This way, the risk of human error becomes secondary. Instead, the focus of an email can be on patient care.

Free Whitepaper “Quick Guide to HIPAA Compliant Email”

Paubox offers zero-step email encryption, ensuring data protection, HIPAA compliance, and ease of use for both sender and receiver.

Paubox Email Suite works on any device so covered entities can always remain in contact with other providers or patients. There is nothing to download and no extra account to create.

And as we’ve stated, no extra password to remember. No extra clicks or web pages to wade through to get to a place where patients can find their PHI.

With our HITRUST CSF certified solution, all emails are encrypted and can be sent directly from existing email platforms (such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace).

Paubox’s zero-step email encryption does exactly what it is supposed to do. It removes the worry and stress from health-related communication, keeping the focus on the patients and their health rather than cybersecurity.

Try Paubox Email Suite Plus for FREE today.