It's hard to imagine conducting business today without e-mail. Transmitting data electronically offers many benefits, speed being the primary advantage. Still, there's a downside. Viruses and spam get a lot of attention when it comes to the dark side of e-mail, but what about the misdirection or outright theft of intellectual property?
You know how quickly a political joke makes the rounds on the Internet. The point is that once you hit that Send button, your electronic messages, files or other data are gone and out of your control. You can't be sure what the person who receives your e-mail might do with the information.
Essential Security Software (ESS) has announced Taceo(pronounced tah-SAY-oh), a new software product aimed at small business and designed to protect e-mail and to prevent anyone from inadvertently or deliberately passing along sensitive or private information.
Ray Zambroski, the company's CEO, calls Taceo an "e-mail and document security small business rights management solution" and said that unintended e-mail forwarding can result in a significant loss of money. "Imagine that you submit a project proposal to a potential client," he said. "What's to keep that person from forwarding your proposal to your competitors asking if they can beat your price? Taceo can stop that from happening."
Rob Enderle, the principal analyst at the Enderle Group recently spoke about Taceo. "E-mail misuse and misdirection is a huge problem with repercussions that range from minor embarrassment to damaging law suits and loss of intellectual property," he said in a statement. "The protection of sensitive and valuable information distributed via e-mail should be a priority for any business today. Given this is the focus of ESS's new easy-to-use Outlook tool, Taceo should be on the short list for firms looking to address these critical exposures."
Small companies that work in sensitive industries, such as medical, financial and legal professions, must meet various regulations to ensure patient or client confidentiality. Zambroski said that Taceo helps such companies comply with legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, Gramm Leach Bliley Act, and California Senate Bill 1386.
How it Works
The software works as a plug in with Microsoft Outlook, where it acts as a toolbar and adds a second "Send" button. When you're sending e-mail (with or without attachments) that you want to protect, you click on the Taceo "Send Secure" button. Zambroski says the only thing anyone who recieves that e-mail can do is look at it.
Taceo prevents anyone from forwarding, cutting, copying, pasting, printing or making a screen grab of the e-mail or its attachments. You can also set expiration times and dates on e-mail and documents. The software protects more than 30 file types including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Adobe PDF and Corel WordPerfect.
The software uses 1024-bit RSA and 128-bit 3DESencryption, and the company says the software's security and control lasts for the entire life-cycle of the document even while it's in storage, in transit and after it arrives on the recipient's computer.
Taceo supports Microsoft Window's 2000, windows Server 2003 or Windows XP. It also requires Microsoft .Net 1.1 Framework, but Taceo says it will install that for you at no charge. You'll also need 12MB of disc space and a computer with at least a 550 MHz processor.
Taceo Pro costs $34.95 per person per year. A free version, Taceo FE, gives you limited authoring capabilities and document and e-mail protection. You'll find more information on both versions here.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com
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