10 Essential Capabilities and Features of Secure Communication Solutions

10 Essential Capabilities and Features of Secure Communication Solutions

The need for secure communication solutions has never been more critical. Not only are breaches more prevalent, but they are also becoming increasingly sophisticated. Any organization that exchanges sensitive information must prioritize finding, deploying, and using a secure communication solution. Secure communication solutions have become an integral aspect of modern-day communication strategies and are crucial to ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive content. In many industries, using a secure communication solution is also a compliance requirement to protect sensitive information like personally identifiable information and protected health information (PII/PHI).

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The Importance of Secure Communication Solutions

Secure communication solutions are essential today. They provide a layer of security to communication protocols that traditional communication methods like email, file sharing, and managed file transfer (MFT) cannot. Secure communication solutions ensure that sensitive content is protected from prying eyes and unauthorized access. “Sensitive content” can vary widely but examples include customer and patient records, financial information, contracts, product ingredients and schematics, compensation and bonus negotiations, business and diplomatic correspondence, and much more. In today’s world of cybercrime and hacking, failing to use a secure communication solution can have severe consequences, including data breaches, financial loss, reputational damage, and litigation. Secure communication solutions are crucial in protecting customer and patient privacy, safeguarding intellectual property, and demonstrating compliance with regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), U.K.’s Cyber Essentials Plus, Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and others.

Types of Secure Communication Solutions

Organizations have a range of secure communication solutions to choose from to protect sensitive information. These solutions include secure file sharing, secure email, SFTP, managed file transfer, secure messaging, and more. Secure file sharing and secure email solutions use encryption to protect content in transit and at rest. SFTP and MFT solutions also use encryption and offer additional security features, such as monitoring and reporting for compliance. Secure messaging solutions offer a secure platform for exchanging communication and content while ensuring confidentiality and integrity, with features like multi-factor authentication and digital signatures. These solutions help organizations protect sensitive information by providing secure channels for communication and content exchange, ensuring only authorized persons access the content.

Why Traditional Communication Solutions Are Not Enough

Traditional communication solutions, such as email and instant messaging, were designed with functionality, rather than security, in mind. These tools lack the necessary security features to protect sensitive content from unauthorized access. For instance, email is not encrypted by default, and anyone with access to the email client or server can potentially read the contents of the message. Similarly, instant messaging tools are not inherently secure and can be hacked. With these and other traditional communication methods, it’s easy for cybercriminals to eavesdrop, intercept, and steal sensitive information. Adopting a secure communication solution, or solutions, is necessary to eliminate these vulnerabilities and ensure that sensitive content is adequately protected.

Let’s now take a look at the 10 essential capabilities and features of secure communication solutions. It is worth noting here that capabilities refer to the overall ability of a secure content solution to perform certain tasks or functions, while features refer to the specific functionalities or tools that enable these capabilities. For example, a secure content solution may have the capability of encrypting data in transit and at rest, while its features may include encryption algorithms, key management tools, and role-based access controls. Capabilities describe what a solution can do, while features describe how it does it.

1. Secure Collaboration: Enhancing Teamwork in a Secure Environment

Collaboration is a key component of modern business operations, whether the collaboration occurs between internal employees or more frequently between internal employees and external, trusted third parties like lawyers, partners, consultants, and contractors. Collaboration, however, also poses a security risk if not properly managed. Secure collaboration capabilities offer a range of essential features, including:

Encryption for Email and Instant Messaging

Encryption is the conversion of plaintext into ciphertext to ensure secure communication, which can be used to protect data in motion, such as during transmission over networks, and data at rest, such as when stored in databases or on physical devices.

Secure collaboration with built-in encryption ensures that all email and instant messaging communications between team members remain secure and confidential. End-to-end encryption ensures that only the intended recipients can access messages, even if intercepted.

2. Access Controls and Permission Settings to Keep Confidential Information Private

Access controls and permission settings are essential for ensuring that confidential information is only shared with authorized personnel. Role-based access controls enable administrators to assign permissions based on job roles, while permission settings prevent unauthorized access to sensitive content. Access control features:


This feature verifies the identity of a user before granting access to a resource or system. Authentication can include passwords, biometric measures, smart cards, and other methods.


This feature determines what activities and resources a user is permitted to access and use within a system or application. Authorization controls can be fine-grained or coarse-grained, depending on the complexity of the system.


This feature records and monitors user activities and system events, providing an audit log for investigation and compliance purposes. Auditing can help detect security breaches and provide evidence for regulatory compliance.

3. Secure Content Access: Safeguard Content Anytime, Anywhere

The availability of (sensitive) content in the cloud has revolutionized access and remote work, facilitated by mobile devices and ubiquitous internet access. Secure content access solutions offer a range of capabilities, including:

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for Secure Remote Access

VPNs enable remote workers to securely access corporate networks and content from anywhere an internet connection is available. Secure VPNs encrypt content transmissions, ensuring that sensitive information remains confidential.

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) for Enhanced Login Security

Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to login procedures, requiring users to enter multiple pieces of information to access their accounts, like username, password, personal identification number (PIN), token, or fingerprint. This prevents unauthorized access to sensitive content.

4. Secure Web Forms for Protected Content Submission

Secure web forms ensure that content submitted through online forms is encrypted and secure. This is especially important for collecting sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and financial information.

SSL Encryption

Secure web forms use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to protect the data being transmitted between the form and the server. This ensures that sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card details, and personal information, is protected from interception and unauthorized access.

Input Validation

Secure web forms use input validation techniques to ensure that the data entered by the user is in the correct format and meets specified criteria. This can help prevent common attacks such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and SQL injection.

Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA)

A CAPTCHA is a type of challenge-response test that is used to determine whether or not the user is human. This can help prevent automated bots from submitting spam or malicious forms.

5. Secure Email: Protecting Confidential Correspondence

Email remains one of the most widely used forms of communication for both personal and business purposes. However, it is also a prime target for cyberattacks and data breaches. Secure email solutions provide a range of capabilities, including:

Encrypted Email Communication Using PGP or S/MIME

Encryption protocols such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) or S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) ensure that email messages are secure and can only be read by the intended recipients.

Secure Email Gateways for Filtering Malicious Content

Email gateways can filter incoming messages for spam, phishing attempts, and other malicious content. This prevents such messages from reaching the end-users, protecting against potential threats.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Mechanisms to Prevent Sensitive Information Leakage

Data loss prevention solutions ensure that sensitive information is not leaked through email. Such mechanisms can filter outgoing messages for confidential information and prevent their transmission if necessary.

6. Secure File Sharing: Sharing Files Safely and Efficiently

File sharing has become an essential part of modern business operations, but it can also pose significant security risks if not properly managed. Secure file sharing solutions offer a range of capabilities, including:

Encrypted File Sharing Platforms With Granular Access Controls

Encrypted file sharing platforms ensure that files are secure and confidential. Granular access controls enable administrators to assign roles and permissions based on job functions, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access the files.

Secure Managed File Transfer (MFT) Protocols Like SFTP

Managed File Transfer protocols like Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) ensure that files are transferred securely and confidentially. This is especially important for large files and sensitive information.

Auditing and Tracking Features to Monitor File Activity

Auditing and tracking features enable administrators to monitor file activity, including who accessed the file, when it was accessed, and what changes were made. This provides enhanced transparency and accountability for file-sharing activities.

7. Secure Mobile Communication: Shielding Content on the Go

Mobile communication has become an essential part of modern business operations, but it can also put sensitive information at risk if not properly managed. Secure mobile communication solutions offer a range of capabilities, including:

Mobile Device Management (MDM) for Secure Device Configurations

MDM solutions can secure mobile devices by controlling configuration settings, enforcing security policies, and restricting access to sensitive content. This ensures that mobile devices are secure and can be used for business operations without compromising content security.

Containerization and Sandboxing to Isolate Sensitive Content

Containerization and sandboxing solutions can isolate sensitive content within mobile apps, preventing it from being accessed by other apps on the same device. This is important for protecting against potential data leaks or intrusions.

8. Unified Compliance: Meeting Regulatory Standards Effectively

Unified compliance is a crucial feature of secure communication solutions that allows organizations to meet regulatory standards effectively. As the business landscape becomes more complex, and compliance requirements evolve, organizations need to have an approach that simplifies their compliance obligations. A unified compliance solution achieves this by consolidating multiple compliance requirements into a single framework that enables efficient and effective control.

Unified Compliance Frameworks for Multiple Regulations

Secure communication solutions that offer a unified compliance framework can provide a standardized and streamlined approach to compliance. A comprehensive compliance framework consolidates multiple regulations, standards, and frameworks, such as HIPAA, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), into a single, unified framework. This approach avoids the need for multiple policies, processes, and procedures that can be confusing and difficult to manage. By consolidating regulations into a single framework, organizations can easily identify overlapping compliance requirements, eliminating redundancies and simplifying the overall compliance effort.

Automated Compliance Assessments and Reporting

Automated compliance assessments and reporting are essential features of secure communication solutions that offer unified compliance. These tools enable organizations to automate compliance assessments, reducing the time and effort required to assess compliance. Automated reporting can generate compliance reports, highlighting areas of noncompliance and recommending corrective actions. This approach can significantly reduce the burden of compliance, enabling the organization to allocate time and resources to other critical areas.

Regular Updates and Alerts on Regulatory Changes

Regular updates and alerts on regulatory changes are critical features of secure communication solutions that offer unified compliance. Compliance requirements are continually evolving, and organizations need to stay abreast of regulatory changes to remain aligned with compliance standards. A unified compliance solution provides alerts and notifications to inform organizations of regulatory changes, ensuring that policies, processes, and procedures remain current and up to date. Regular updates can reduce compliance risks, improve compliance effectiveness, and demonstrate a commitment to compliance.

9. Unified Security: Holistic Protection Across Communication Channels

Secure communication solutions with unified security capabilities can provide a range of essential capabilities, including:

Integration of Multiple Security Measures

Integration of multiple security measures ensures that communication channels are secure and confidential. This can include encryption protocols, access controls, and other security mechanisms.

Centralized Security Management and Monitoring

Centralized security management and monitoring ensures that security policies are enforced consistently across all communication channels. This can include real-time monitoring, alerts, and reporting.

Incident Response and Threat Intelligence Capabilities

Incident response and threat intelligence capabilities enable businesses to respond quickly to potential security threats and prevent data breaches. This can include threat analysis tools, incident response plans, and other security measures.

10. Unified Visibility: Comprehensive Monitoring and Auditing

Comprehensive monitoring and auditing capabilities enable businesses to monitor communication activities, track access, and detect potential security threats. Secure communication solutions with unified visibility capabilities offer the following essential capabilities:

Real-time Monitoring of Communication Activities and Events

Real-time monitoring of communication activities and events enables businesses to track user behavior, detect anomalies, and respond quickly to potential security threats. This can include monitoring of messaging, email, file sharing, and other communication channels.

Logging and Auditing Features for Compliance and Incident Investigations

Logging and auditing features enable businesses to keep track of all communication activities and provide detailed records for compliance and incident investigation purposes. This can include logging of user activity, file transfers, and other communication events.

Advanced Analytics and Reporting for Insights and Proactive Security Measures

Advanced analytics and reporting provide businesses with insights into communication patterns, user behavior, and potential security threats. This can include advanced analytics tools, custom reporting, and proactive security measures.

Kiteworks Protects Organizations With Secure and Compliant Communications

The Kiteworks Private Content Network (PCN) enables organizations to share sensitive files and emails with comprehensive governance and security. Kiteworks’ secure file sharing capability enables the exchange of sensitive content and files between users, organizations, and systems while protecting confidential content. Organizations in turn mitigate the risk of cyberattacks and enable adherence with data privacy regulations, such as GDPR, Good Manufacturing Practice (GxP), HIPAA, International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Australia’s Information Security Registered Assessors Program (IRAP), and others.

Whether organization share sensitive information using email, managed file transfer, file sharing, web forms, or other third-party communication channel, the Kiteworks PCN provides AES-256 and TLS 1.2 encryption, granular access controls, a virtual hardened appliance, on-premises, private, hybrid, and FedRAMP virtual cloud deployment options, integrations with your existing security infrastructure, visibility into all file activity coming into and leaving the organization, and more. It also logs all file activities, including uploads, downloads, and shares for compliance and eDiscovery requests.

Schedule a custom demo to learn more about Kiteworks’ secure communication capabilities.

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