Encryption Start-Ups and Cyber-Security in 2014

In the age of Edwardemail-secret-shst-120621 Snowden’s less and less “shocking” revelations and the hip, new WikiLeaks saga, with the USA recently caught in a spying kerfuffle with Germany, and cyber espionage making headway in US-China relations, questions of online security are becoming all important at hyper-speeds for government agencies, national and international corporations but also private individuals and companies.

This article from Forbes, “How To Send Email Without Leaving Any Data Traces,” explains where encrypted technology stands today and mentions a few companies that offer encrypted email services. It appears the biggest current challenge encryption technology and cyber security face is achieving total security. The concern lies, not so much in protecting the actual content of the emails, but with meta-data tied to email delivery:

“[M]any encryption services and software can hide the contents of the letter, they still let others see an email’s metadata, the bits of information surrounding the email such as sender, recipient, timestamp and subject message.” All of this information is “sensitive information,” and can reveal “the name of medical clinics, businesses or political parties with which one is in touch.”

Regardless of one’s security demands, email encryption technology is in a state of rapid development and is moving towards solving the vulnerability of meta-data. The Forbes article names the Scottsdale, AZ start up ShazzleMail, founded by majority stakes holder Cliff Boyle–a company who claims to successfully hide meta-data in email transmissions by sending the email directly to a recipient on ShazzleMail’s own servers.

The article goes on to list two other companies who offer their own spin on meta-data encryption: Rællic Systems and Enlocked. Rællic offers 3 levels of security all the way up to the “Tin Foil Hit” level. Enlocked, on the other hand “unveiled a new service it says offers “military-grade email security” for small businesses and professionals by encrypting a message directly on a computer or phone before it is sent.”

The prevailing attitude with encrypted technology is that it is not “a 100 percent guarantee of privacy.” However, depending on the level of security one requires, the services companies such as ShazzleMail  offer are good enough. For example, the content of encrypted emails is not only hidden from prying eyes, once the emails are sent there is no way to trace the emails. This lends itself, as the Forbes article explains, to benefits such as protecting the email correspondences of those engaged in lawsuits.

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Seattle CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. Since 2002, he has owned his own small business, Huddleston Tax CPAs. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.

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