As we embrace holiday cheer and bid farewell to 2018, we’re also taking time to look back and consider all that’s happened in a very eventful year. We’re asking ourselves questions about what we’ve done well at Hushmail, as well as what we can do better next year. Then there are the larger questions that come to mind: where does the global online community stand now when it comes to privacy and security? As a company, have we helped our customers be more secure in a world rife with security breaches and cyberattacks? Have we provided our business customers with useful tools to improve their products and better serve their clients? Have our accomplishments been meaningful?
As we take a look at some of the most notable happenings of the last year, we’ll attempt to answer these questions.
Major privacy breaches
This was the year of privacy breaches that rocked some of our largest institutions and compromised the data of millions of customers. From the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal that gave us a glaringly clear picture of what can happen when we share our personal data online, to web vulnerabilities that opened doors to cybercriminals seeking new opportunities to target businesses, we were handed a robust conversation focused on protecting our personal information in an increasingly vulnerable online world.
If there's a silver lining to these news stories, it's greater awareness. Our customers are much more knowledgeable about potential threats to their data, and why it’s essential to secure their information through encrypted emails and other communication services. The breaches and vulnerabilities also gave us the opportunity to explain some of the behind-the-scenes aspects of Hushmail, such as how running our own servers protects us from vulnerabilities that affect cloud-based systems and how our encryption actually works.
The GDPR and new PIPEDA rules
With awareness comes change. The European Union (EU) responded with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that set the standard for the rest of the world when it comes to collecting, securing, and processing personal data. The legislation is now law for all EU member states. Because it also applies to any entity that processes the personal data of individuals residing in the EU, the new rules required companies all over the world to make the changes necessary so as to comply.
Following suit, Canada enacted new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) rules to provide for mandatory breach reporting and record keeping.
Overall, both the GDPR and PIPEDA give control back to individuals so they can protect their personal data by keeping track of where it’s being stored online and how it’s being used.
As a company that firmly believes communication should be kept private, Hushmail supports these regulations as necessary steps in the right direction. We’ll continue to report on new developments following on the implementation of these new regulations, and we look forward to seeing what improvements will result from the rules in the new year.
Hush Secure Forms
In 2018, we unveiled the new Hush Secure Forms. We conceived this new version in response to our customers’ requests for a secure forms tool that was easy to use. We actually already had a forms tool that many of our customers were using, but unless you knew a little about coding, it was difficult to figure out. Thus, new Hush Secure Forms was born. Easy-to-build, customizable forms that are encrypted just like our email. We even provide templates for commonly used forms to make the process even easier.
We’re so excited about all the possibilities with new Hush Secure Forms. While our focus in 2018 was primarily on tailoring our products to meet the needs of behavioral health practitioners, the versatility of new Hush Secure Forms lends itself to numerous professions including others in the healthcare realm, such as dentistry, but also fields such as the legal profession and finance.
We’re looking forward to the official launch coming up soon in the new year. And, of course, to a productive year ahead of continuing development, so we ensure Hushmail provides one of the best secure web forms on the market.
New Hushmail for Healthcare Plans
Another big change in the services we offer is the new packages for our Hushmail for Healthcare accounts. Our secure web forms address diverse needs, and it very quickly became clear that the level of those needs varies dramatically among our customers. Different pricing plans allow our largest customers to build and use hundreds of forms if that’s what they need, while our smaller customers have the choice of two forms for as low as $9.99/month.
Choice and flexibility is a nice option to give our customers, and these packages allow our customers to grow their businesses more comfortably with Hushmail.
Embracing Hushmail partners
And last but not least - our partners. We have gathered some amazing partners throughout the years. These are highly respected individuals and companies in their fields, and we’ve gotten to know them very well through attending conferences with them and sharing ideas. As an organization, we feel confident in recommending any of these partners to our customers.
We have plans in the new year to publish more partner posts on our blog so you can benefit from their expertise, services, and products. You’ve likely already heard of some of them, as they are familiar names in the behavioral health field. Of course, we are always looking for more like-minded individuals and companies to work with. If you feel like you have core values similar to Hushmail’s and would like to partner with us, please let us know. One can never have too many reliable partners who offer value and contribute to our knowledge base.
Also, be on the lookout for our expanded affiliate program. If you often find yourself telling colleagues about Hushmail and getting them to sign up, you could develop a nice income stream next year by becoming an affiliate.
So, in general, how was 2018?
Is the world better positioned to handle our personal data online? Quite possibly. We think the GDPR and PIPEDA are pointing us in a better direction, and, perhaps most importantly, have made privacy and data protection part of everyday conversation.
Is Hushmail helping our customers be more secure with tools that help them conduct their businesses? Yes. We continue to maintain a high bar when it comes to both security and customer care, and this combination seems to make all the difference when it comes to the very loyal customers around the world we’ve been so fortunate to develop.
Have our accomplishments been meaningful? There are always things we could do better, but what makes our team so wonderful is that we are all in this business for the right reasons - to improve the accessibility of secure, online communication so individuals and businesses can communicate privately - what we consider to be a fundamental human right. This year we have substantially furthered this noble cause.
And perhaps the biggest question - was 2018 meaningful? A resounding “yes," and we sincerely hope you feel the same way.
From the Hushmail family to yours, we wish you happy holidays and a happy New Year!