Email encryption offers enterprises an effective method of protecting communication that includes a wide range of sensitive content. For example, it can protect emails containing personally identifiable information (PII) on staff, customers or even healthcare patients. However, it can also safeguard confidential company contracts that require a signature, or invoices containing financial information like account numbers and payment card details.

Many companies interested in encryption are understandably keen to know how long their protected emails will last, or if the encryption deployed has a limited window of time to remain active. In this blog, we’ll cover this topic in detail and explore how users themselves can take control of how long an encrypted email stays available.

Encryption duration according to protocol

If an email is encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS), it will only stay encrypted during transmission. As a result, as soon as it arrives at its intended destination, it will no longer be encrypted. However, if the same communication is sent using end-to-end encryption, it will not only be encrypted for its journey but remain so upon arrival in its recipient’s inbox. In other words, whether an email is at rest or on the move, it will stay encrypted when this advanced solution is deployed.

Configuring the duration of an encrypted email

Emails that are encrypted will typically last for an unlimited time by default. However, this is never advised. To keep track of the confidential information and personal data they handle and share, companies should always allow access for a limited period. If an issue occurs pointing to a data breach, firms can prove to regulators like the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that they took adequate measures to safeguard the information involved by capping access.

Fortunately, the best encryption solutions allow firms to set specific time limits on their encrypted emails. While the exact advised expiry date on an encrypted email will vary depending on the sector a company works on and the sensitivity of the information involved, as narrow a window as possible is always the best practice.

Email encryption you can count on

If you are looking for a bespoke email encryption solution to suit your requirements, we can help. Our state-of-the-art solution is delivered with email encryption time-out as standard, along with a wide range of other security tools that allow you to block email forwarding and receive alerts when messages are accessed. Contact us now to find out more and book a free trial.