Plenty. Sensitive information is transacted regularly at many non-profit organizations, from volunteer and donor information to medical and personal information about the people and other organizations being served. Federal privacy laws including HIPAA require organizations that possess Protected Health Information (or PHI) take precautions to secure this data. Rape crisis centers, public counseling centers, and hospice centers are just a few of the kinds of non-profit organizations that need the benefits of secure messaging, as an alternative to standard, unencrypted email.
Email is transmitted over the internet in CLEAR TEXT. This means it's easily readable by anyone who has access to your physical or wireless network with a laptop and free software. Email passwords are likewise transmitted in the clear. Once someone has this information, they can login and read the victims' email whenever they wish.
If a virus infects a computer on your network (a common occurrence at most businesses), the security of all data on that computer may be compromised. Likewise, if the computer is ever lost or stolen (as is often the case with laptops), it is required that organizations notify the people who's data was lost or stolen, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services who then post the name of the organization responsible for the breach on their website. This page is known as the HHS "Wall of Shame".
Not exactly. Web-based email may be encrypted, but usually it's only on one side of the equation. Once email is sent out from Gmail servers, it goes through all the standard, clear text channels to get to the recipient in regular clear text. It's not secure end-to-end the way most secure messaging programs are.
Identity theft is a real problem. According to the Federal Trade Commission, over 1.3 million victims of identity theft were reported in 2009. The numbers are increasing. Identity theft can occur when thieves acquire access to personal information, such as someone's email address and password. Since some folks tend to use the same passwords on multiple accounts it becomes a huge liability.
Non-profits that deal with people's protected health and financial data are subject to several federal privacy laws, just as private industry. The fines are not trivial and jail time is being issued with increased frequency in cases of deliberate or extreme negligence.
The risks of liability by continuing to use traditional email for sensitive information within your organization are quickly outweighing the ease-of-use benefit. Standard Email for all business is really a thing of the past. Banks and Insurance companies know this and have been using web-based secure messaging for years now. All industries are finally following suit.
While using a secure messaging system for private communications isn't the only action required to be fully compliant with HITECH, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA and other federally mandated privacy laws, it is the easiest first step your organization can take.
A web-based solution such as WordSecure Messaging integrates seamlessly with your website, and requires no in-house IT expertise to implement. Protected health, financial, and other personal information can be exchanged with trusted individuals over the web with confidence using fast and secure, industry-standard encryption technology. It's affordable, simple to use, and there is no additional software to install. Discounts are available to qualified 5013c organizations. Call WordSecure for a free consultation to see if our secure messaging system is right for your organization. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to talk with you by calling Toll-Free 1-877-878-6798.
Signup for an account on the WordSecure demonstration system to see how our system works first-hand, from your client's perspective. You may also use it to contact WordSecure principals directly and to request client and industry references, as well as our white paper addressing more in-depth technical and security questions about products and services.