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The controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server has dominated news coverage of this year’s presidential campaign. This post isn’t about the politics of the issue but rather the very real tradeoffs between security and usability. These tradeoffs are faced by people every single day, usually resulting in very weak security. Business people — and Hillary — deserve better.
The FBI was right to insist on the security of Secretary Clinton’s email messages. As Secretary of State, she had access to very sensitive information, and this information needed to be kept securely. The investigation into her use of a private email server primarily focused on whether classified documents were stored improperly. But even her unclassified emails contained information that was not intended to be disclosed to the public. In this time of Wikileaks she should have secured all of her communications.
The problem is that securing communications can be a real hassle. An important aspect for security is encryption. Encryption means special keys and special software. And in order for secure communication to take place, encryption keys must be generated, shared, and managed. The software that does this is traditionally complicated to install, cumbersome to use, and doesn’t fit easily with existing communication tools, like mail apps.
People want to use the email systems they’re used to, and they’ll forego security if the encryption technology gets in their way. This appears to be what happened in Secretary Clinton’s case. State Department security personnel were concerned that Hillary’s use of her beloved Blackberry could pose a security risk. That Blackberry’s email account was, at the time, hosted on a private server in Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York. Even the NSA was consulted in order to find a way to allow Clinton to continue to use her Blackberry and server, but no practical solution was found. The security personnel wanted Clinton to use a secure desktop computer, but this was unfamiliar to her, and she chose to continue using her Blackberry anyway.
Hillary was right to insist on ease of use. Her Blackberry communications were fundamental to the way she worked. She behaved in a way consistent with what many security professionals already know… and fear: if security is too hard to use, people will avoid using it.
People in business face the same tradeoff every day. They may not be dealing with classified information or even such obviously sensitive subjects as financial or medical records, but even basic email messages are intended to be private, not stolen or splashed over the public Internet by someone with sinister intentions.
PreVeil was founded to eviscerate the tradeoff between security and ease of use. It’s end-to-end encryption that people can actually use, for email, files, and more.
In PreVeil, every message is encrypted under its own unique key at the client device. It’s never decrypted until it reaches its destination. The unencrypted message, and the keys that encrypt that message, are never visible to the cloud server or any networking device between the servers and clients. The system is designed to protect user data even when the cloud has been breached.
PreVeil is easy to use. It works with everyday mail clients like Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook, or on a web browser. There’s also a PreVeil app for iPhones and iPads. Users continue to use their existing email addresses. PreVeil is quickly and easily installed over the Internet. It requires no password, and the basic version is free.
Get notified for our free beta version below.