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Risk

5/6/2010
11:01 AM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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VaporStream Takes E-mail "Off The Record"

Not every e-mail needs to be part of the permanent record -- which is the point VaporStream is making with 256-bit encrypted "vanishing" e-mail service. Could be just what the doctor ordered for dealing with e-mail overload -- although more than a few divorce lawyers and tabloid headline writers might disagree.

Not every e-mail needs to be part of the permanent record -- which is the point VaporStream is making with 256-bit encrypted "vanishing" e-mail service. Could be just what the doctor ordered for dealing with e-mail overload -- although more than a few divorce lawyers and tabloid headline writers might disagree.The pitch VaporStream is making for its e-mail service is that business communications need to be fast, secure and confidential -- but not necessarily permanent. And the relative permanence of traditional e-mail (not to mention the ease with which they are copied, forwarded, shared -- increases the risks that confidential information will leak, that compliance regulations will be violated, that companies may be embarrassed by content intended for one set of eyes only.

Not to mention the expense and headaches of dealing with, managing, organizing and archiving huge volumes of e-mail.

The company's "Electronic Conversation" approach shifts e-mail to privileged, encrypted communication between authorized sender and authorized recipient -- and no one else. Like traditional e-mail, the message remains in a queue until read. Unlike traditional e-mail, the mail vanishes after reading.

The level of encryption satisfies HIPAA compliance requirements ( VaporStream notes that: "There is no HIPAA or other legal requirement for saving all communications!You don't have to keep everything"

VaporStream mail cannot be saved, cc'd, copied, forwarded or printed; message head and body are separated in transit; encryption and message reside in RAM.

Pricing for the service begins at $7.50 per month per customer, with enterprise-level pricing quotes available on request. A free trial is available (registration required).

Take a look at the service and let me know what you think. Like I said, I can't imagine divorce lawyers and tabloid scandal-hunters will be thrilled if VaporStream's approach catches on, and I can only imagine the potential for both abuses of the service and, potentially, official (on some level or other) insistence that disappearing e-mail "just isn't right."

It'll be fun to watch the developments -- and to see how much an impact vaporStream's approach has on our clotted e-mail queues.

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