CipherCloud for Office 365
Strengths: Provides encryption for email and calendar for MS Office 365
Verdict: We liked its simplicity, effectiveness and compliance
Many organisations outsource email to a cloud provider, and one of the most successful of these providers is Microsoft with its Office 365 offering. This is a cloud-based version of Microsoft Office that adds a few additional features making it an attractive option, especially for small to mid-sized organisations. However, it is not without its security weaknesses, as is the case with all cloud-based offerings.
The major issue is that email can be quite sensitive and there are privacy requirements to which an organisation in certain markets must adhere. If the email is in clear text, in the cloud those privacy requirements are not being met. Likewise, the cloud provider has access, and if the provider is ordered by the courts to reveal all of the content stored in its systems, your clear text email may be at risk of disclosure without your consent or even your knowledge. This is where CipherCloud for Office 365 comes in.
This innovative product is very simple in concept: It encrypts email end-to-end, and it does it without interfering with the user experience. Moreover, since the encryption keys are retained on-premise, the organisation is not at risk for loss of the keys, misuse of the keys or any of the onerous regulatory penalties for exposing - or potentially exposing - private information to unauthorised access.
The system, from the user perspective, is simplicity itself. The administrator decides what gets encrypted - all email and calendar or selective encryption - sets the policy, and the rest is seamless and transparent to users. The email can be recalled as PST files and decrypted locally if the need should arise, so the organisation is not at risk of the cloud provider being shut down. Encryption is strong - AES 256 FIPS-approved, so protection is robust. Likewise, the product can support other cloud-based applications, so developing a secure cloud strategy gets easier.
We liked this tool for its simplicity and direct application to a real challenge. The fact that it is extensible to other applications and that there are more apps on the drawing board, just adds to its promise.