Email and the web browser remain two of the weakest links in enterprise security. As they currently stand, there's only so much you can do to secure them, especially in a business environment that is increasingly shaped by the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend. However, a new solution that is about to go public has an answer to the problem with a high-security email client called EviGuard.
The solution is being produced by a company called Evizone and ZDNet got a chance to talk with Evizone CEO Andy Coutts ahead of the product's official public launch, which will include a freemium offering that small workgroups can try.
"Theft of confidential information, intellectual property and business plans often goes undetected. The damage is done and the victim is unaware," said Coutts. "With EviGuard and the Evizone secure email service, we believe we are delivering the strongest commercially available system for protecting this information from today’s cyber-threats."
This is a Software-as-a-Service solution, which may sound counterintuitive for high-security, but it's actually a key part of how Evizone can guarantee data protection. All emails are only ever stored on Evizone servers. No data is ever stored locally on any devices. That's the first step.
The second step is that Evizone takes the email client out of the web browser.
"The reality is that you can't secure it if you're going through the browser," said Coutts.
That's where EviGuard software comes in. It is the company's locally-installed application for securely accessing your messages.
"We've written hardened software," Coutts said. "You can't do any code-injection. The software will detect that... Everything is policy-based. There's no trace on the desktop of any of the communications. You are viewing this data virtually in-memory."
The client software is set up so that you can't save, print, copy, or share it. It even blocks printscreen and screenshot software. A user can externally take a photo of their screen, but manipulating the data within the system is virtually impossible.
"You could even be on a compromised computer and people wouldn't be able to get the data," said Coutts.
Also, since everything is stored centrally on servers, the sender of a message can delete that message after sending it and it will be completely removed from the system.
At public launch, the EviGuard client is available on Windows and Mac, with an iOS version on the way.
"We're working on bringing EviGuard to other platforms as well," said Coutts. He specifically mentioned Linux as a client that is being requested since it is often used in high-security environments.
Of course, this architecture means that you have to access all of your messages from the EviGuard client. You can send a message to an external email address, but what they get is an email alert that tells them they have a secure message sent from EviZone and invites them to download a version of EviGuard to access the message.
Just to clarify, EviGuard is the software client and Evizone is the SaaS email service, which is run out of two redundant data centers in Canada. Evizone took extreme measures in setting up their data centers for maximum security. In fact, Coutts said that the company that is renting them data center space was very impressed and took note of their security procedures.
"When we set up our own firewalls, it was a level of security they hadn't seen," he said.
Evizone is available as a freemium service for small workgroups of up to 10 people, with a free download of the EviGuard desktop clients. The freemium service has all the protections of the Premium Service but is limited to 1GB/month of data transfer, 100MB file sizes, and 3 months of data retension.
The Premium Service costs $25/month per user and includes access to the iOS app (currently in beta testing). It provides 5GB of data transfer per user, up to 2GB file sizes, and 12 months of data retension. The Enterprise Service is fixed quote pricing based on SLA and data retension needs of the customer. For example, many banks often require 72 months of data retension.
While Evizone is a startup, it isn't just getting started. That's a good thing in the security industry since companies don't typically like to trust new startups with their most valuable data. Evizone has been running a beyond-the-scenes version of its service for over a year.
"We've been in quiet launch, bringing in anchor clients," said Coutts. "Initial interest is coming from the financial services sector."
Coutts said that companies in 65 countries are now using the freemium service. In addition to natural interest from financial services and governments, Coutts said that industries that deal with intellectual property are also showing interest in the product.
You can try out the freemium service at this link. While most companies won't necessarily want or need to move all of their email over to a high-security service like Evizone, it's could certainly make sense for them to set up an Evizone workgroup for exchanging highly sensitive messages like trade secrets, intellectual property exchanges, and executive decision making.