Günter Esch, General Manager
Despite the proliferation of numerous modes of interaction, email communication has stood the test of time and is still hailed as the primary channel of exchange for individuals and organisations alike. However, securing email communications has remained a daunting task – a perception that has plagued the enterprise world for decades. Owing to the notion that secure email communication could be difficult to implement, challenging to use, and cumbersome to maintain, businesses and individuals tend to dodge the problem than face it head-on. In some cases, some of these users do not necessarily understand the nuances, rules, and mechanisms that need to be addressed for secure communication.
"By implementing our solution, organisations can add quality and security to their email communication"
Günter Esch – the General Manager of SEPPmail - sums up this dilemma in a single statement: "The complexity of secure e-mail communication must be broken down to a minimal package that is easy to handle, easy to implement and easy to use." SEPPmail has been striving for this paradigm shift since its inception 20 years ago. Founded with the ambition to make secure email communication as simple as possible.
The history of SEPPmail began with one of the innovative solutions for securing email communication. Before the company was founded, Stefan Klein - the founder of the company - was serving a lawyer in Zurich, Switzerland, who wanted to ensure that his communications with a client in Russia were secure and complied with openPGP standards. "While working with this client, my colleague realized about the difficulties of explaining openPGP (Pretty Good Privacy) to a lawyer. There was no easy way to explain how to implement and handle a openPGP key, and that's how we came up with the idea for our first solution, which is a proxy solution," Günter adds. Interestingly, this is also the origin of the company's name: SEPPmail - Secure Email openPGP Proxy mail. Twenty years after this convenient way to secure email communications was conceived, the company continues to adhere to the ethos of simplifying the implementation of secure communication channels for its customers.
Fortifying the Four Pillars of Email Communication
The fundamental elements of quality email communication involve four key aspects: credible email signatures, quality encryption, versatile file transfer capabilities, and an efficient email filter. As elementary as these components may seem, implementing them effectively is easier said than done.
Email signature validates the sender’s identity and it’s unchanged content - including all of the information linked to the sender, such as the bank accounts and more. To make sure that the information shared is secure, emails have to be signed. And to sign emails, one has to purchase relevant certifications from regulatory bodies. The validity of these certificates is time-bound as well – some of them need to be renewed annually. More importantly, owing to regulations such as GDPR governing the European region, organisations struggle to steer clear of any legal complications that may arise due to information exchange.
They could also face hindrances in implementing the technological frameworks or mechanisms to safeguard communication. Several emails securing specifications such as S/MIME (Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) and openPGP (Pretty Good Privacy) have to be established in the line of communication, which can be pretty complex for the typical user. Otherwise, validating the identity of the people within a communication chain could be quite challenging, blurring the lines of information transparency. SEPPmail ensures that these certifications are managed efficiently and automatically. “By implementing our solution, organisations can significantly increase quality and security to their email communication.”
While certifications and signatures maintain the quality, the security of email communication is governed by encryption; email encryption can be classified into two main areas. The first is a transparent method wherein technological standards such as S/MIME and openPGP are established between two communicators, which completely automates the encryption function for both parties. However, if one of the communicators has failed to implement these security functions, a special use case is born. This is where SEPPmail’s spontaneous encryption technology—GINA—comes into the picture. The company’s encryption technology allows users to send and receive emails to any corner of the world. By merely providing the recipient with a password, the sender can ensure that the recipient can open the mail without needing additional software on any device with access to the internet. SEPPmail does not maintain this service but rather is hosted on the customer’s premise or cloud, thereby establishing another secure layer of communication between sender and the new unknown receiver.
What could be interesting about our suite of solutions to potential clients is that they can either buy a solution, or buy a service, or subscribe to a solution
Large File Transfer is yet another critical barrier that organisations struggle to overcome, particularly when sharing necessary attachments as construction plans, layouts, design schematics, pictures, audio or video files. Organisations utilising classical email communication face several hindrances, which probe them to look for services such as dropbox, which could potentially invite untold risks over the open internet. SEPPmail’s Large File Transfer Solution ensures users can seamlessly send large files over secure email communication channels. Incoherent with the GINA encryption technology, the company’s file transfer solution encrypts large files effortlessly, opening up an omnichannel exchange between registered external and internal users of an exchange ecosystem.
While these three utilitarian products are testament to SEPPmail’s credentials within the secure communication space, the company’s newest feature is set to revolutionise email filtering. Whether anti-spam, anti-virus, anti-phishing or protection against all external threats - SEPPmail's email filtering solution protects the email communication channel from entry all the way to the mail server.
The solution is set to be released at the beginning of 2022, showcasing the capability to filter email communication per the regional requirements of any country.
“What could be interesting about our suite of solutions to potential clients is that they can either buy a solution, or buy a service, or subscribe to a solution. We will host the system, we will manage the system, and the users can automatically enjoy all the benefits of secure email communication,” adds Günter.
Noteworthy Integrations to Secure Communication Boundaries
SEPPmail’s offerings also serve as essential addons to enterprise solutions; the Microsoft ecosystem, in particular, is among the company’s key areas of interest. “There are hardly any solutions available to manage a spontaneous large file transfer to someone, somewhere in the world”, says Günter. “You also need to deploy certificates on the email clients attached to the Microsoft suite, which also presents a grave concern because tthere is no automatic way of obtaining official trusted certificates.” SEPPmail, addressing this concern, has built relevant connectors within its suite of solutions, allowing communicators the freedom to quickly implement the certificates of their choice. The company has partnered with certificate authorities such as SwissSign, Digicert/QuoVadis, GlobalSign, Sectigo and D-Trust to automate the deployment of these certificates fully.
More importantly, SEPPmail supports spontaneous communication extensively - a functionality that is very limited in the Microsoft suite. The GINA encryption of SEPPmail solves this problem by being able to establish, independent of the technological requirements of the external recipient, a spontaneous and secure communication channel without further preparation and restrictions. SEPPmails solution also support our customers individual CI (corporate identity), by adopting the interface of our GINA encryption technology accordingly.
The Hallmark of Security
A noteworthy collaboration that testifies the advantages offered through SEPPmail is the company’s partnership with the Bavarian Red Cross, which was struggling to sustain effective communication across a network of stakeholders such as hospitals, doctors, insurance companies, patients, and civil service groups. More often than not, the information exchanged across these channels is highly sensitive, containing personally identifiable information (PII) of patients, their medications, or reports of incidents. As a result, the Bavarian Red Cross sought to ensure the security of information shared.
Upon engaging with SEPPmail, the resolution was to deploy a flexible solution that reaches out to people in any part of the world securely and efficiently; SEPPmail did just that. “They are in constant dialogue with us, and in our most recent interaction, they said that every aspect of the solution is working flawlessly,” explains Günter. Such collaborations are hallmarks of SEPPmail’s efficiency in safeguarding the most versatile and long-standing means of communication – Email. The company, since its inception, has strived to fortify this channel of communication, and more importantly, simplify the process of implementing relevant technological frameworks.