Gmail now offers a confidential mode for sending emails through its platform. When you enable it, the recipients can’t forward, copy, print, or download the content inside of them. The same is true for any attachments these messages may contain.
Sounds like something you’d use to protect your secrets, sensitive data, and company’s know-how? Then continue reading. You’re about to unveil the ins and outs of how it works, its main benefits, and how to use it.
How Does It Work?
On a technical level, confidential messages don’t reach the recipient’s inbox as traditional emails would. Instead, they stay on a separate server, and the content itself only contains a link to it. This way, the sender keeps full control of the email.
When sending confidential messages on Gmail, you, as the user, have the power to set their expiration date. Moreover, you can also have the user input an SMS verification code before reading them. And you are also free to revoke access at any time you see fit.
Note: there are mechanisms in place that prevent the recipient from saving the contents of the message. But nothing is blocking the tech-savvy from taking a screenshot.
Benefits of Using Confidential Mode and When to Use It
Making sure only the intended recipient reads the message. Of course, someone could still be looking over their shoulder. But confidential mode does represent an extra layer of security. It works best if the recipient is cooperative.
Managing liability. When a message comes from your address, you may be held liable for something you said. By sticking to confidential messages, you can ensure that whatever you mail out to someone can only be used for the intended purpose of getting the message across. No one can point the finger at you afterward.
Protecting your company’s secrets. By communicating or revealing them to a member of your organization, you are taking a risk. It means you should take the necessary steps to keep it to a minimum. Although not bulletproof, Gmail’s confidential messages are a step in the right direction.
Avoiding data leaks. From regulatory fines to the loss of your clients’ trust, in the unfortunate event of a data leak, the reputation of your company is on the line. By remaining compliant with GDPR and similar initiatives, you ensure that your company is operating on stable ground. Confidential messages help with that.
How to Enable Confidential Messages
Depending on where you’re sending the messages from, there are slight differences in the process.
Gmail on Browser
- Click “Compose a new message.”
- Next to the “Send” button, there should be an icon with a locked clock. Click on it.
- Then, a pop-up should appear. There you can set the desired parameters, such as longevity. You can also activate SMS confirmation if you wish.
- That’s pretty much it! When the recipient receives one of these messages, it contains a notification at the bottom that it was sent in confidential mode.
Gmail on Mobile
- When composing a new message, be on the lookout for the three vertical dots. It allows you to choose the confidential mode.
- At this point, you have the liberty of setting the desired parameters (same as with the browser method).
- When you send a confidential message, it is marked as such. It also specifies how long it takes before it disappears.
Additional Remarks to Stay Safe
If you’ve reached this point, you already know that confidential messages are useful for helping you protect your sensitive data. But don’t expect them to be the end-all-be-all of your cybersecurity strategy.
In other words, you should also make sure to install an antivirus suite on your computers. After all, no confidential mode can save you from a keylogger infection.
Furthermore, sending emails over a potentially insecure network can come back to bite you. If you don’t use a VPN, someone can be eavesdropping on what you submit through the public network. It’s another way you can be exposing your sensitive data. What is a VPN? It’s software that places all data in transit in an encrypted tunnel. It means that it’s off-limits to anyone but the intended recipient. More information you can find here: https://nordvpn.com/what-is-a-vpn/
Start Writing Confidential Emails Now
With its new feature, Gmail has taken an important step in protecting messages of sensitive nature. But if you value your privacy, you shouldn’t rely on it alone. As with everything else, your security parallels the amount of effort you put in.