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Email Compliance Regulations: Ensuring Data Protection

Email Compliance Regulations

Private information that is transmitted via email is always at risk.

Be it electronic health records, credit card numbers, personal identification data (non-public personal information), or other sensitive information — it should be secured and compliant with regulations. 

For every organization, confidential data processing could be different, depending upon what email compliance regulations this organization is subject to.

To determine that, it'd be better to know what compliance is and why it is so important to be compliant.

What You Need to Know About Compliance

In general, to comply with something means to follow enacted regulations, norms and specifications.

For the majority of businesses, email is an essential communication tool for sharing critical information. And today cybercriminals assault an organizations’ most valuable resource — their data.

Unfortunately, that’s only half the problem. The other half is the data that organizations collect and process, which may not just be entirely theirs.

That’s where compliance requirements come into play. 

Email Compliance Regulations by Names

To decide what email security solution will fulfill your business needs, you need to determine what type of data you are gathering and processing and what part of it needs to be protected.

Because many regulations are applied in different fields, they (regulations) vary in approaches.


Is, probably, the most well-known regulation due to its novelty and hefty fines. 

GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation) was developed to regulate the processing of personal data of individual data subjects inside the European Union and in countries whose governments ratified such.

The issue here is that most organizations are not prepared to meet GDPR requirements and accept that the regulation is not just a recommendation to acknowledge but a necessity of modern business life.

To cope with the GDPR directives, you have to consider the risks of data processing of the data subject. For instance, Article 30 requires that “each controller and, where applicable, the controller’s representative, shall maintain a record of processing activities under its responsibility.”

However, be aware that non-compliance can cost your company up to €20 million in fines or 4 percent of annual global revenue turnover, whichever is greater.


Stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

It regulates sensitive patient data. HIPAA forces organizations to meet their requirements for a network, physical, and process security measures.

HIPAA compliant email norms revolve around electronic Protected Health Information (ePHI). This act relates to hospitals, medical practices, and insurance brokers. In other words, organizations that transmit ePHI. 

When you use third-party servers for transferring sensitive patient data (documents, patient's medical records, payment history, etc.), you violate HIPAA requirements. Organizations must ensure that emails containing ePHI information are secured, protected in transfer, at rest and in use. 

To be HIPAA compliant, ePHI must have end-to-end encryption as only that guarantees you’re using a HIPAA compliant email security solution. 

Non-compliance under HIPAA will cost healthcare organizations up to $250,000 per incident.


Or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was designed to protect shareholders and public companies from accounting errors and fraudulent actions inside an enterprise. 

SOX prescribes organizations establish internal measures to process, gather, and record financial information. Emails that comprise financial data should be transmitted in an encrypted state to ensure its security.

The violation of the Act will cost a company a $5 million fine.

That’s why you may want to make just three steps to the complete SOX compliance.


Regulates the financial industry: banks, credit unions, and financial institutions must comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. 

Organizations must provide policy and technological solutions that ensure the confidentiality of customers’ financial data in transit and at rest. 

The violation of the Act will cost organizations up to $10 000 fine per each violation.


Is initialism for International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It regulates the export, import, and distribution of defense- and space-related goods and services, and all technical data associated with those.

Technical data is technical documentation, which could be blueprints, figures, drafts, flowcharts, sheets, records, or any other defense-related documentation.

Organizations involved in manufacturing, importing, and exporting military equipment and technical documentation — must be ITAR compliant.

Non-fulfillment of ITAR may result in up to $500,000 civil fines per violation and up to $1,000,000 criminal fines and 10 years imprisonment per violation.

To be ITAR compliant, you need to use an email security solution to protect sensitive technical data.


California Consumer Privacy Act protects consumer privacy rights of residents of California, United States.

Postal address, Internet Protocol address, email address, social security number, driver's license number, and other similar identifiers fall under the regulation of CCPA.

Organizations are required to "implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices" in protecting consumer data.

$2,500 is a fine for unintentional violations, and $7,500 is a penalty for intentional violations of the Act.


Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard in its the Encrypt Transmission Of Cardholder Data Across Open, Public Networks requirement states for organizations to:

  • use strong cryptography and security protocols such as SSL/TLS or IPSEC to safeguard sensitive cardholder data during transmission over open, public networks (e.g., Internet, wireless technologies, global systems for communications, general packet radio systems);
  • never send unencrypted Primary Account Number(s) by the end-user messaging technologies.

If transmitted through Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), cardholder data might be intercepted by cybercriminals. The most reliable way to avoid it is to encrypt confidential data: encryption renders transmitted plain data into unreadable, so any unauthorized party cannot view it.

Email Archiving

Regulations require companies to maintain email data for a certain time. 

The first thing you should do is to find out what email records you are required to maintain. When you do, you can sort that information out, and then split it up in two categories: personal and non-personal.

The second thing is good to know that all the archiving and back-up happen regularly and automatically.

For example, for cloud-based email security solutions that run on Microsoft Azure Cloud, geo-replication happens in real-time on six separate servers located in different regions. This allows users to eliminate the inaccessibility of email records, including email attachments.

This logistic can also could be helpful for cases when regulations prescribe to keep a copy of those records. By maintaining your email records, you could easily set up a retention policy of confidential data within a company (in case if you need it to be retrieved for internal investigations). 

Should you decide to stop sharing access to your data, you can always recall email in Outlook.

Email Compliance: Regulations and Solutions 

Used to proceed daily business via email, many organizations rely on email communication as a solid tool to send sensitive and private information within and outside their company. 

Nevertheless, many internet threats make email vulnerable to disclosure and exfiltration of private data. Data breaches, financial losses, damaged reputation, and in a worst-case scenario, — resignation and even business loss are just some of the risks associated with negligent use of regular email.

Challenges and Tender Spots

One of the main challenges of non-compliance lies within sending email via SMTP: transmitting sensitive data in plain text may violate a number of information security-related laws and articles. It can lead to data to be intercepted, modified, and used to hack into an email account.

For companies subjected to regulatory compliance, securing business email correspondence has been perceived as a primary objective.

Alongside, organizations have outlined some difficulties to implement those regulations to be compliant:

  • Slow recovery protection.
  • Email managing applications on proprietary and dedicated hardware. 
  • Outsource services (capturing clients’ emails on a hosted server).
  • Complicated maintenance of the in-house back-up server.
  • Integration with management platforms. 
  • Less frequently accessed data is stored on the lower-cost storage.

Removing Flaws: Email Compliance Principles

As the volume of business email correspondence grows, email compliance becomes an increasingly costly and complicated task.

The shortcut to achieving email compliance may be found in a solid corporate security policy and implementation of an email compliant solution.

The solid corporate security policy will incorporate business governance rules into email. This will help prevent the disclosure of sensitive data from malevolent actions –both intentional and unintentional– of employees.

The email compliant solution will provide end-to-end encryption of email content and attachments. End-to-end encryption will mitigate the risk of data breaches and secure messages in transit, at rest, and in transit.

The six core points that were announced at the Digital Evolution Forum, determine principles for solutions to ensure compliance: 

  1. Data should always be encrypted while transferred and at rest.
  2. Encryption should transpire on the client’s side.
  3. Only a client should have access to encryption keys.
  4. Sensitive data and files should not be transferred via unprotected communication channels.
  5. The company must be in full control of the storage with encrypted information and keys.
  6. A security email solution must provide controls for compliance.

StealthMail: Data Protection Ensured

There is no such thing as a compliance checkbox — compliance is achieved when implemented.

StealthMail makes email data processing consent with email compliance regulations and local legislation acts.

Core benefits of StealthMail: 

  • Meets strict compliance and legal regulations (GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, ITAR, CCPA, PCI DSS).
  • Fulfill the six core principles of compliance.
  • Encryption and digital signing of data.
  • Doesn’t require any integration in the existing IT-infrastructure (installs as Add-in to Microsoft Outlook).
  • Advanced encryption algorithms (ECC 512+/TWOFISH 256/RSA 8192/AES 256).
  • Patented Stealth Technology (prescribes multiple data mash-ups and "junk data" injections, which makes the breach process much more complicated).
  • Stealth Link mechanism of transferring data: no actual data is sent via SMTP — a generated crypto link only (that’s how email content remains imperceptible for cybercriminals).
  • Individual encryption of email contents and its attachments.
  • Encryption keys are stored in a company’s secure perimeter.

To learn more about how StealthMail can ensure data protection under email compliance regulations, please download the Technical Datasheet, or Try Free Trial of the StealthMail email security solution, or visit StealthMail.com.


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