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Gmail will soon inform users of whether or not messages were sent to them over an unencrypted network, in the hopes of improving online security for all users (and providers) of webmail. It’s a way of increasing awareness, as well as emphasizing the necessity of encryption for sensitive online services. While Gmail already takes advantage of an HTTPS encryption protocol for its own mail service, this is only a small step toward increasing the security of online email services. The HTTPS only encrypts the browser’s connection with the server, rather than all of the traffic to and from senders and receivers.

In other words, unless the email provider is taking full advantage of encryption while messages are in transit, external parties could potentially be snooping around looking for information that doesn?t concern them. Providers like Google, Comcast, Microsoft, Yahoo, and some others, are taking advantage of protocols that can limit outside intervention by using STARTTLS.

As explained by ZDNet:

A lot of providers don’t support STARTTLS, meaning that any email encrypted by the sender can’t be read when it’s received on the other end. This so-called opportunistic encryption works when both email providers support STARTTLS. If one doesn’t, then the other provider falls back to an unencrypted form.

Therefore, the most important aspect of this new email encryption protocol is the fact that it will encourage email providers to offer the same security measures that big names like Google and Microsoft do.

While this new encryption notification policy can improve the way you read and interpret emails, you don?t want to rely on this method to keep your business’s communications solution safe. What you want to integrate is a comprehensive security protocol that’s capable of defending your business’s infrastructure from a variety of both internal and external threats, like viruses, malware, and spyware. While a firewall and an antivirus solution can go a long way toward limiting your business’s exposure to threats, you want a more powerful solution that encompasses all aspects of network security.

The perfect solution for a small or medium-sized business is the Unified Threat Management tool, which combines a firewall and antivirus solution with preventative measures like content filtering and spam blocking capabilities. Such a comprehensive solution is optimized for maximum protection from threats of all types. For more information, give us a call at (603) 889-0800.

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