Inky: The Only Complete Encrypted Email Solution

There are many encrypted email solutions in the market now, but Inky is the only one that currently covers all the real-world use cases. To understand why, you need a little background on how encrypted mail solutions are typically deployed.

Encrypted mail solutions generally fall into three categories: plugins, web portals, and installed apps. As we’ll see, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

Many vendors offer plugin-based solutions. Plugins add functionality to existing mail packages like Outlook Desktop, Outlook Web Access (Office 365), or Gmail. Deploying as a plugin saves the vendor the effort of creating an entire mail and calendar package from scratch, since plugins piggy-back on other applications’ mail and calendar capabilities.

Plugins also avoid users’ objections about the need to learn a new interface; the Outlook or Gmail user experience remains largely the same with a plugin. One downside to plugins, though, is that they don’t support mobile; mobile mail apps don’t allow plugins, and for security reasons probably never will. Plugins also don’t feel like “first class” user experiences since they are generally bolted onto another company’s primary interface.

Some vendors offer web-portal based solutions. These generally require either the sender or the recipient of encrypted email, or both, to create an account and log into to a web site to encrypt/decrypt email. This approach is useful for users — particularly consumer recipients — who can’t be expected to install special software to decrypt the email. Web portals are generally acceptable for recipients of transactional emails, but are pretty intolerable for frequent sending or receiving — imagine sending all your corporate email with a basic web portal! And web portal solutions are particularly
unusable on mobile devices, where the browser is slow and the screen

Finally, a few vendors offer installed applications. These specialized applications let users send and/or receive encrypted mail from their desktop or mobile devices. Installed applications can provide a well-designed, tailored user experience that makes sending and receiving encrypted email seamless. Installed applications can also be more secure than plugins, since they can be hardened against tampering in ways that plugins cannot be — and at the end of the day a plugin can only be as secure as the underlying application that it’s plugging in to. The downside with installed apps is simply that they must be installed.

Unique to Inky is that these three modes all interoperate seamlessly. On desktops, Inky customers can use either an Outlook/Gmail plugin or the Inky application to send encrypted emails — either to other employees using Inky or recipients outside the organization, via the web portal. So Inky works for customers that do not want to install any desktop application or move off of Outlook or Gmail as well as for those willing to run a new desktop application for email and calendaring.

On mobile, Inky customers run the Inky app, which serves not only as the mail/calendar app, but also fulfills MDM functions like separation of corporate from personal data and remote wipe. As with all other Inky versions, the Inky app works with Exchange and Google Apps Servers without any migration required.

Finally, Inky customers can send encrypted transactional emails to consumers via a simple API; recipients can then retrieve these using the web portal. These encrypted emails arrive in the recipient’s normal email account. If a recipient is running Inky or an Inky plugin, the email is transparently decrypted automatically.

If, as in the common case, the recipient is not running any Inky software, the encrypted mail appears as a link. Recipients click the link to confirm control of their email account, and then receive a new, time-limited link allowing retrieval of the encrypted message via any web browser. No login is required, and recipients can send an encrypted reply right from the web portal.

These replies are encrypted just as though they came from Inky software, meaning they are encrypted using the recipient’s unique key. In other words, the Inky web portal offers true end-to-end encryption, with the same security properties as the Inky apps and plugins.

No other encrypted email solution supports all these varied deployment methods. And, critically, we’ve found that customers generally require a combination of these methods to solve all their uses cases.

Vendors that only offer plugins, for example, can’t offer a seamless mobile experience that interoperates with Exchange. Vendors that only offer web portals make it too cumbersome to move an entire employee base on to encrypted mail. And vendors that only offer installed applications can’t support uses cases like transactional emails to consumers and IT environments built around cloud-only (web client only) deployments.

Inky is the first package that gives IT managers the options they need to make encrypted email truly ubiquitous.

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