03 March 2023

Privacy First Data Email Protection by SYNAQ

Don’t let the Bits Byte

Every business interaction and transaction produces data. Collecting and interpreting that data is key for innovation. It can even be harnessed as a revenue stream. But how you process and secure data can make or break your business. From a regulatory and reputational perspective, and in terms of the risk of breach. Adopting a privacy-first mindset to every aspect of doing business will ensure compliance, build consumer confidence, and enhance cybersecurity. SYNAQ’s privacy-by-design email security software brings a privacy-first approach to email security. But their advisory services extend this thinking way beyond email.

Data: Business’s Biggest By-product

Collectively, we humans produce 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Data is the by-product of everything we do online and on our devices. And business is no different. Whether its customer interactions, or employee productivity, on the internet, in the cloud, via email or on any of the many applications that support operations, everything leaves a trail of data that business can follow to improve customer service, maximise efficiency and reduce redundancy. Anything analogue that hadn’t already been transformed before the pandemic was modernised, digitised and migrated to the cloud to enable remote working. Indeed, public clouds and data lakes have been necessitated by the sheer volume of structured and unstructured data we generate each day. As of 2022, it was estimated that 60% of corporate data worldwide is stored in the cloud. Much of the most valuable data collected is personal. If you operate in insurance, financial services or healthcare, this goes without saying, but any personal identifiers relative to your customers and your employees constitute personal information. Email is one area of every business that serves as a huge repository of personal information. And over 3 million emails are sent globally every second.

Harnessing the Power of Data

Business increasingly recognises the value of adopting data-driven decision making. Data-driven decision-making is the process of using data to inform decision-making and validate a course of action before committing to it. Data-driven insights are leveraged to improve customer service, inform new product development, optimise processes and improve marketing outcomes. Adopting a truly data-driven approach to business has the power to drive innovation, dismantle silos, improve efficiencies, and enhance customer engagement. But all of this good can be undone by poor data protection.

When Good Data goes Bad

CPO magazine says it best. We are in the  privacy-first era. Gone are the days when personal data could be captured, processed, used, and abused without the subject’s knowledge or consent. And more and more, these are rights enshrined in legislation. We’re all familiar (and not just a bit fatigued) with South Africa’s POPIA Act. Indeed, 69% of the world’s countries now have data protection and privacy legislation in place. Then of course there’s the EU’s GDPR. Between January 2021 and January 2022, nearly €1.1 billion in fines were issued for a wide range of GDPR violations. But the risks associated with poor data protection extend beyond punitive fines. Trust is critical to winning and retaining privacy conscious customers. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, trust has become the second most important purchasing and loyalty criteria, while at the same time, is at the lowest level recorded in over 20 years. For 88% of users, willingness to share personal data depends on how much they trust an organisation or brand. 48% of users report having boycotted a company over privacy concerns and 33% of users report ending relationships with suppliers over data management - from social media companies, to ISPs, to retailers, credit card providers, and financial institutions. It’s not just about responsible data processing. Data must be protected. Given its value, it’s not surprising that data is under constantly threat by cybercriminals. And when these attacks are successful, the consequences for businesses can be catastrophic. The average cost of a data breach increased in 2021 from $3.86 million to $4.24 million, according to IBM. IBM also cites human error as a leading cause of data breaches. It’s no surprise then that email, as one of the primary platforms we humans use to interface with business, remains the primary attack vector. Cybercriminals are increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to fool email recipients out of credentials and into databases. Of the over 3 million emails sent globally every second, its estimated that at least 50% are spam. The very existence of features of email security software solutions like Identity Threat Protection (ITP) is testament to this. Adding to email vulnerability is the fact that email addresses are frequently used as unique identifiers when users log in to 3rd party applications or access gated content online. Cybercriminals use this to their advantage. Protecting your business and your people with effective email security software is a critical component of privacy-first data protection.

What is Privacy-First Data Protection?

A privacy-first mindset shifts focus from compliance to the customer (or data subject). It means respecting and valuing the sovereignty of personal information. When an organisation recognises the human behind the data they’ve been entrusted with, as well as their responsibility when it comes to processing and protecting it, compliance naturally follows. So does customer trust. Everybody wins.

A privacy-first mindset should inform data protection.

Data protection is the essential business practise of protecting digital information from unauthorised access, corruption, or theft - throughout its lifecycle in the business. It includes physical security of hardware and storage devices, administrative and access controls, as well as the logical security of software applications, and policies and procedures. Done right, data security protects your data assets against cybercriminals, as well as insider threats and human error which, as we’ve seen, remains among the leading causes of data breaches, today. You can’t protect what you can’t see. Key to robust data protection is visibility - where critical and personal data resides, and how it’s used. To this end, deploying tools and technologies that automate reporting and generate actionable insights is key, and has the added benefit of streamlining audits for regulatory compliance. As with all good data protection, the email security platform you choose should include mechanisms for insight so that you can proactively manage risks and improve security posturing.

SYNAQ | Your Partner for a Privacy-First Future

At SYNAQ, we’ve been protecting business mailboxes for safer collaboration and communication with Securemail, our email security software since 2008. In April 2023, we are launching Securemail 3.0, bringing a privacy-first mindset to email security. Featuring an insights module designed to help you visualise your current risk posture as it relates to email security, Securemail 3.0 gives you access to a contextualised, high-level view into relevant security metrics, and by drilling down into the detail, you can understand and enhance the performance of your Securemail setup across your environment.

Securemail 3.0 also features enhanced security. In response to the evolving threat landscape, we’ve added additional SPAM and Malware feeds to our heuristics engines, and deployed algorithm enhancements to specific features such as LinkShield, ITP and DLP, for a more comprehensive line of defence against the latest threats.

What’s your current risk posture? Find out and learn more about SYNAQ Securemail 3.0 here