Vermont Bar Journal, Vol. 40, No. 2 - Page 18

by James Knapp, Esq. TECH TIPS Encryption Practice Pointers Encryption covers a wide range of topics. Communications between computers over the Internet may be encrypted while the data is in transit. Any website that is accessed with the near ubiquitous https:// prefix uses an encrypted link to communicate. A file, a folder (directory), or an entire hard drive may be encrypted to protect the contents from access without the proper credentials. Likewise, an email in transit from one computer to another may be encrypted. This article focuses on email encryption, however, a complete solution for protecting client information needs to address all the elements of protecting data, both at rest and in transit. Once you decide that you should be encrypting emails for clientrelated matters, you need to find a solution that fits your budget and comfort level with technology. The good news is that many companies have entered into the encryption arena and offer a number of solutions for all your encryption needs. Emails can be encrypted by a desktop client--software that runs on your computer and may even integrate with Microsoft Outlook if that is what you use for sending and receiving email. There are also cloud based solutions for Gmail and Outlook. com mail systems. If you are using AOL or Yahoo, it is probably time to look into a different solution for your client email. You can get a professional solution with better services from either Google or Microsoft for about $50.00 per year per user, so there is no good excuse not to be using a better professional service than basic AOL or Yahoo. Neither of the recommended professional email Google service nor Microsoft service is free. If your office is a larger office with an email server, you should consult with your IT professionals about what types of encryption will best serve your office needs. As an alternative to email encryption, a most cost-effective technique uses tools already on most computer systems where the sender can “zip” the files to be sent with a password. The process for using this low cost/no cost technology starts with downloading and installing a program called 7-zip which is free. By selecting the files to be transmitted and including them in the “.zip” archive and choosing the password option, the files will be encrypted and password protected. The encrypted “.zip” can then be emailed. The recipient will also have to have the 7-zip program or an 18 equivalent program that will handle (jargon warning!) 256 bit AES encryption. The final step is communicating the password to the recipient, but not in the same email that includes the “.zip” file and preferably not by email at all. The “zip” function present in Windows 7, 8, and 10 will also encrypt and password protect a zip file, but the technology used to encrypt is not very strong compared to the process used by 7-zip. What follows is a quick survey of some of the services that are available for small offices. Microsoft Office 365 A few years ago, Microsoft began offering Office 365 in various subscription service levels ranging from the Home and Small office users up to enterprise level solutions. Microsoft has packaged a collection of applications and services into a bundle offered to businesses large and small for a monthly fee ranging from $8.00 per month per user --for email and calendar services, online file storage, and workgroup collaboration tools (Plan E1), to a more comprehensive selection of services for email and calendaring, online file storage, Microsoft Office Applications like Word and Excel, workgroup collaboration tools and hosted email services, priced at $20.00 per user per month (Plan E3). At the level of Plan E3, Microsoft offers Encryption services through the Outlook email application. See https://products.office.com/en-us/business/office-365-enterprise-e3-business-software. Zixcorp Zixcorp provides three solutions for encrypting email: a gateway, integration with cloud based email solutions (Gmail and Microsoft Office Mail), and a desktop mail solution. The Zix Gateway product works in firms that maintain their own network and email servers, eliminating it as a solution for most small and medium-sized firms. If your firm is already an Office 365 Mail user or a Google Apps for Business user, you can integrate Zix Gateway with your current email system and have the benefits of email encryption through your existing system. Microsoft Office 365 users will find information here - https://www.zixcorp.com/Enhance-O365-with-Zix. If you are a Google Apps for Business user, Zixcorp has a solution for use with the busiTHE VERMONT BAR JOURNAL • SUMMER 2016 ness Gmail services called GAME, found here - http://go.zixcorp.com/GAME.html. Zixcorp’s third option is an email client that runs on the