Security ☯ Convenience

Porta chiusaWhen it comes to internet security and data protection, you’ve probably heard the debate between convenience and security. It seems that an increase in the one tends to diminish the other. This conundrum is nothing new, of course. As a matter of fact, you make the same type of “security vs. convenience” decisions in your home everyday.

For example: When you leave the house, do you lock the door? If so, you are adding a bit of inconvenience (the time it takes to unlock the door when you return) for some additional security. Most people don’t mind this trade off and think that, on balance, it’s an acceptable decision. However, you could certainly add security by installing a home security system (thereby also increasing the inconvenience of properly entering and exiting your home). For some, this is still an acceptable trade off. To take the example to the extreme, if you REALLY wanted to be secure, you could install fingerprint scanners or barricade the door with a piano or set up booby traps. Of course, this would make your life far more complicated and is probably not worth the effort for the increased security it would provide.

PSMail wrestles with this same balance. We want to provide the smoothest, most efficient, customer oriented service we can, all the while remembering that the reason most of our customers come to us is that they prioritize security more than the average person. That said, we thought it might be helpful for us to give you a few examples of how this security/convenience tension has been resolved by us, and how it effects your user-experience. Perhaps you can use similar principles when making your own security vs. convenience decisions.

  1. You’ve probably noticed that each time you log out of your PSMail account, you must completely close your browser before you can log back in again. This is certainly an extra step added to the use of your PSMail account, but it is not without purpose. Web browsers, like Explorer, Safari, etc., are today’s largest attack vector, and that small, extra step helps to close off this possible means of attack.
  2. If you’ve ever forgotten your password, you know that when you request help, we don’t just send you your password or send you a new one to use. Instead, we send you an OTP (One Time Password) that is only good for one use. There are certainly several added steps in this process, but they all have to do with security. First, we don’t store your old password and have no access to it, which is in itself an added layer of security. Second, by sending you a password that’s only good for one use, it prevents a cybercriminal from using it even if they were to somehow get ahold of it.
  3. Similar to number one above, if your VPN session is dead or unused, we require you to reauthenticate your session. Again, this is one more step, but one designed to close a security hole that is highly sought after by attackers.

As you might guess, the tension between security and convenience doesn’t end here. As new features are rolled out by PSMail and new attacks planned and developed by cybercriminals, this balance is constantly being evaluated and adjusted with your security as the top priority.

If you have questions related to a security/convenience issue with your account, you can always contact us via the contact form on our website or the Help link on your welcome page. We’d be glad to clarify. In addition, we hope this way of viewing convenience and security will also help to inform your own decisions regarding your Internet and data security.

Security ☯ Convenience