Verizon Offers E-Mail Security for SMBs

Verizon Secure Mail can apply encryption and digital signatures to e-mail created in Outlook or Outlook Express.

With businesses small and large facing growing pressure to secure private information contained in electronic communications, Verizon Communications Inc. today rolled out an e-mail security service for small-to-medium-sized businesses using Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.

Verizon Secure Mail, based on e-mail encryption software from Toronto-based Echoworx Corp., is available now for $6.95 per month per mailbox.

Once a business registers for the service, users must download the Secure Mail plug-in. After downloading the plug-in, a secure icon will appear in a users e-mail application. By clicking on this icon, a user can enable an e-mail, as well as its attachments, to be encrypted and digitally signed, said David Rodriguez, director of product management, for Verizon, in New York. Echoworx Secure Mail is based on the PKI and S/MIME technologies for encryption and digital signatures.

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If the recipient of the encrypted e-mail is a Secure Mail subscriber, he or she will see a padlock icon next to the e-mail in their inbox and can then open the e-mail by entering in a predefined password. Recipients who are not subscribed to Secure Mail will receive an e-mail notification with a link that directs them to the Verizon Message pick-up center, where they can access the messages contents in their Web browser after answering a security question established by the sender.

Echoworx plans to roll out its service with additional ISPs in the future as well as extend its service to work with other e-mail clients, said officials. The company also plans to work on securing instant messaging in the future.

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