At Egress Software we love Google services, GMail and Google Docs (now Drive) and the paid incarnation of Google Apps provides users with one of the richest and most complete cloud services for message, document, and file management.
As we built Egress Switch which offers users secure message and cloud delivery as secure encrypted packages we were always intrigued by Google Apps Mail. Because we wanted to keep things as seamless and transparent as possible for end users there seemed like no sensible way to secure messages without making end-users go through extra steps.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve solved the usability issue of secure messaging when using Google Apps Mail. During June 2012 we’ll be starting a beta program to allow organizations using Google Apps secure email using Egress Switch.
How we have solved the problem
We have two deployment options for Egress Switch; Client deployment or server gateway based deployment. It's this second option Gateway mode that allows us to secure email for Google Apps users. An Apps account can be configured to use a custom SMTP gateway, this means all emails leaving the Apps domain are routed to a custom SMTP server.
It's simply a case of pointing the Apps domain to an Egress Switch Gateway appliance, this server will then apply your enterprise policies to all emails leaving the domain.
Enhancing the user experience
The gateway approach works very well especially if the organization doesn’t necessarily want its users making choices about encryption. The Gateway can use a series of defined rules to decide when security is applied. This isn’t always the case and many organizations like the idea that users are responsible for applying classification to messages. The Egress Switch client for Outlook gives users this level of control.
To address this for Google Apps accounts we’ve developed a Google Chrome Extension that brings Egress Switch controls to users accessing Google Apps Mail via the Chrome web browser.
The addin connects the user’s Switch account through the Google Apps account and allow them to apply appropriate security labels to the message.
This message classification is intercepted by the Switch Gateway and appropriate steps taken to secure it before delivery to the recipient.
During the beta phase we’ll be rolling out more enhancements to the Egress Switch Chrome extension to allow a much richer user experience. If you're interested in taking part in the beta program or have some ideas for feature enhancements, talk to your Egress representative.