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Most organizations have not yet implemented secure messaging for a variety of reasons, including the cost of implementing the infrastructure and the extra steps needed for end users to send a secure message compared to conventional e-mail.
A survey we conducted last year found that 58% of organizations believe that secure messaging is more difficult than sending normal e-mail. Further, we found that fewer than one in five users would be considered a frequent user of secure messaging if such a capability is available to them.
However, secure messaging is becoming a more important consideration for a couple of reasons. First, e-mail is a cost-effective and efficient method for communicating with customers, yet many company-customer communications require that the content of e-mail be secure. Examples include messages between a bank and its customers, between a medical group and its patients, or between doctors and pharmacists.
A second application of secure messaging that is growing in importance is within enterprises themselves. For example, if a benefits department sends an employee e-mail about coverage for a new prescription, that e-mail must be sent securely according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In the healthcare market, ZixCorp estimates that there are a million violations of HIPAA every day in this context.
In short, secure messaging is a good idea for just about any company that might otherwise run afoul of HIPAA or other regulations designed to protect confidential information. There are a number of good products on the market that can be implemented at relatively low cost and that make secure messaging only slightly more difficult than unsecured messaging.
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