Preventing this data from falling into the wrong hands is the mandate of Cirius, a Vancouver-based firm that provides corporate customers with email encryption solutions. Relying on cloud technology to get the job done, Cirius helps various industries to ensure that the information contained within their emails remains under wraps.
Despite the fact that businesses of all sizes rely on email as a crucial communication and information sharing tool, email has become somewhat of an Achilles heel for the healthcare industry in particular.
“Email has become an Achilles heel for the healthcare industry because end user expectations of receiving communication electronically has never been higher,” explains Cameron Burke, senior vice president of business development for Cirius.
“There are more devices to consume that information, and it’s the most convenient way to send it,” Burke continues. “And yet, some basic things have not been done to secure that information back and forth, both internally within an organization and certainly as it relates to patients at home who want to receive this information conveniently.”
Many enterprises rely on email because of the convenience it provides them. Data can be transmitted seamlessly between employees, who subsequently receive instant responses. But despite that, it’s a system that has proven to be vulnerable on various occasions.
“Email, while very convenient, is vulnerable, and leaves sensitive personal health information liable to human error, such as sending it to the wrong person at the wrong time. It is also vulnerable to other kinds of mistakes and (security) breaches,” says Burke.
Email-related errors or breaches become more prevalent these days, with one recent example being the leak of confidential medical records of members of Toronto’s city council. In fact, according to Burke, over 90 per cent of breaches that occur are the direct result of human error.
Cirius has developed a cloud-based solution that seeks to rectify these issues. The company offers a simplified platform that equips corporate users with email encryption and tracking, data loss prevention and file transfer safety.
“I think the most important thing is that we’ve taken the complexity out of security,” Burke says. “Cirius is a true cloud solution that, while maintaining the highest level of data compliance and jurisdiction requirement, creates a very simple, complementary end user experience.”
From an email-centric standpoint, Cirius’ user interface “wraps around what (system) is already being used, and creates a simple experience that anyone on any device can use without installation or download,” says Burke. “Essentially, the user experience remains very similar to clicking a link, and with it comes not just security, but productivity gains in terms of tracking content and recalling information if it is sent to the wrong person.”
The development and perfection of new solutions requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work. For that purpose, Cirius relied upon Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to help get their product up and running promptly. As Burke explains, using Microsoft Azure was a crucial part of the creation process.
“We work with regulated customers all over the world in healthcare finance, government and other sectors,” he says. “A key component of our business is data jurisdiction, and as those restrictions and regulations are more stringent, the information needs to be kept (safe). They (the customers) want the benefits of a global cloud platform, but they need the content to be stored locally.
“For Cirius, we needed a partner that understood that those enhanced restrictions and certifications are a key component of validating cloud solutions for regulated industries,” Burke continues. “Microsoft has been the first to take Azure and get the international certification and meet international standards for these types of customers.
The benefits of using Azure were twofold for Cirius. On the one hand, it permitted them to leverage scalable cloud technology, and on the other, it allowed them to meet the demands of their growing customer base.
“It really gives us the best of both worlds,” says Burke. “It provides us with a global, scalable cloud solution that offers huge flexibility, as well as the ability to sit down with the most stringent compliance and security-focused customers and (complete) their checklist of working with a solution like that.”
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