Email Security

The Top 8 Secure Email Providers

Expert Insights’ guide to the top secure email providers. We compare key features, including admin controls, security policies, and more.

The Top 8 Secure Email Providers Include:
  • 1. ProtonMail
  • 2. Proofpoint Essentials
  • 3. Apple iCloud+ Email
  • 4. Stay Private
  • 5. Microsoft 365
  • 6. Google Workspace
  • 7. Trustifi
  • 8. Abnormal Security

Secure email providers comprise a range of technologies designed to protect email networks. This can include email security gateways, cloud-based email security solutions, secure email hosting, and email encryption technologies.  

In today’s world of hybrid working and collaboration, email is a more important communication tool than ever before. This means that  ensuring that your email messages are secure is vital—both for individuals, businesses, and large organizations. 

Email threats continue to worsen at an alarming rate. Email spoofing, phishing attacks, business email compromise, and ransomware all rely on poor email security practices to succeed, and they are costing individuals and organizations millions each year.

To prevent these threats, there are a number of email providers that deliver strong email protection, including spam filtering, phishing protection and more. 

These solutions range from protection for individuals, with email encryption and spam filtering, to enterprise-grade security solutions, designed to provide powerful protection from email threats, with reporting and compliance features. 

In this guide we’ll run through the best secure email providers. We’ll consider who they are best suited for, how they work, feature sets and pricing, to help you find the right secure email provider to protect your email systems.

ProtonMail Logo

What Users Like: ProtonMail’s transparency, and user-friendly features, such as flagging when you’ve forgotten to send an attachment.

What Users Warn: Development times can be slow for ProtonMail solutions.

ProtonMail is a free secure email platform, based in Switzerland. ProtonMail provides fully encrypted email communications, with end-to-end encryption that means nobody can access your email content—not even ProtonMail itself. The platform is fully open source and can be used on any device without installing any software. ProtonMail accounts can also be used with any other email platform, allowing you to easily and securely send and receive emails.

ProtonMail supports secure two-factor authentication, enabling strong protection against your email accounts being compromised or victim to phishing attacks. As well as secure email, ProtonMail also provides a secure calendar service: Proton Calendar, and a secure cloud storage service: ProtonDrive.

ProtonMail is a popular choice for security conscious email users, it’s entirely free to use, has a strong feature set, and is highly secure. For this reason, a strong community has built up around ProtonMail. There are also options for paid accounts, which start at 4.00 € per month.

ProtonMail is a good option for individual users looking to send sensitive emails securely and easily.

Proofpoint Logo

What Users Like: Enhanced security features, ease of management, cost-effective and easy integration with your email network.

What Users Warn: The interface can be clunky at times, and expertise is needed to make the most out of advanced features.

Proofpoint Essentials is an enterprise email security stack, designed for small to mid-sized organizations. Proofpoint is a global market leader in enterprise cloud security, known for their email security, security awareness training, web security and compliance solutions. Proofpoint secures more than half of the Fortune 100, and filters more than 2.2 billion emails every day.

Proofpoint Essentials is cloud based and designed to be fully compatible with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Exchange. It supports active directory sync for easier integration with Microsoft’s email network.

The Essentials package includes multiple security services, including a secure email gateway, email encryption, email archiving and continuity. Proofpoint’s secure email gateway provides powerful antivirus, spam filtering, and attachment sandboxing. It also provides enhanced admin controls, with domain management and granular reporting to protect users and ensure compliance.

Proofpoint Essentials is available via four packages designed for small businesses up to larger enterprises. We’d recommend this solution for businesses looking for enhanced email protection on an easy-to-use email security platform, with strong security controls.

iCloud Logo

What Users Like: Enhanced security features and easy-to-use mail client baked into the Apple system.

What Users Warn: iCloud Private Relay may cause websites to load more slowly. iCloud+ subscription costs can get expensive.

iCloud Mail is free to anyone with an AppleID. It can be accessed on any Apple device through their email app, or otherwise accessed through any web browser. iCloud mail has a strong spam filter, is simple to use and has strong security features, such as the ability to request removal from email mailing lists directly from the email client, and two-factor authentication using biometrics. Unlike other free email platforms, it has no advertisements.

iCloud+ is Apple’s premium iCloud subscription service, is available to anyone using a paid iCloud plan. It provides three security enhancements that make iCloud worthy of this list: Hide My Email, Mail Privacy Protection, and iCloud Private Relay.

Hide My Email allows users to use randomly generated mail aliases that forward your email to your main address. This means that if you are added to a spam list, you can easily track and remove the alias affected, and if your account details are involved in a data breach, your real address is kept hidden. Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from collecting information about you via email, which normally occurs with the use of invisible tracking pixels that detect when you open an email.

Finally, iCloud Private Relay operates like a VPN. It encrypts your Safari traffic as it leaves your device, so nobody can see what websites you browse, not even your internet service provider (ISP). This service is currently in Beta.

iCloud+ is a strong choice for privacy conscious Apple users who want to improve email privacy, without losing the convenience of using a third-party email client.

Stay Private Logo

What Users Like: Straightforward implementation process, ease of accessing encrypted emails, and encrypted attachments.

What Users Warn: Not always easy to delete encrypted emails.

Stay Private is a UK-based email encryption provider which provides email encryption both individual users and teams, with a focus on simplicity and compliance with data protection regulations.

For individuals, Stay Private is a cost-effective encryption platform, designed to work seamlessly with your existing email network. This makes it a good choice for privacy-conscious users, or freelancers looking to add an extra layer of security to their emails. The platform allows you to send encrypted emails to anyone, as recipients don’t need an account to access the messages you send. Instead, they simply open the message in a secure browser window using a code sent via email.

For businesses, Stay Private is designed to ensure that emails are fully compliant with data regulations, wherever they are being sent. The platform is easy to use; all users need to do is include chosen keyworks in an email message, and the email will automatically be sent as an encrypted message using TLS-based encryption.

We’d recommend Stay Private for individuals looking to add email encryption to their existing email accounts, and to small businesses looking to enhance security and ensure compliance when sending sensitive email content, without over complicating the email process for users.

Microsoft Logo

What Users Like: Easy-to-use email platform, great user management with active directory sync, and productivity features, such as document editing.

What Users Warn: Complex pricing structures, and email security solution lacks advanced features.

As one of the world’s largest technology companies, Microsoft needs no introduction. Microsoft 365 is the global leader in business productivity suites, providing apps including Microsoft Word, Excel, OneDrive and of course an Outlook email domain for your team.

Microsoft 365 has built-in email security from Exchange Online Protection, which blocks spam and malware from user inboxes. It provides content filtering, limited reporting, and outbound security to prevent domain spoofing.

Microsoft 365 also has an advanced in-built security tool: Defender for Office 365. This solution is designed to protect Microsoft 365 against advanced email threats, such as phishing and business email compromise, with faster detection and remediation.

Defender is a good choice for teams needing a basic level of protection against phishing and malware, but it does lack many of the features that third-party email security providers can offer. Luckily, Microsoft provides strong API-support, enabling you to use Microsoft 365 with a third party secure email gateway solution.

Microsoft’s Active Directory service makes it extremely easy to manage and onboard users to third-party email security solutions and other business applications. We’d recommend Microsoft 365 to businesses of all sizes looking for a secure, cloud-based email network.

Google Workspace Logo

What Users Like: Easy-to-use email platform, great suite of productivity apps ideal for creative teams, and very popular calendar application.

What Users Warn: Integrating third-party security and managing users is more complex than when using Microsoft 365. Google’s ad model has caused some users to highlight privacy concerns.

Google Workspace is Microsoft 365’s biggest competitor in the corporate cloud productivity suite market. It’s a popular set of business cloud applications, particularly in the creative industries, due to its calendar, file sharing, cloud storage and office suite.

Google Workspace enables teams to create a Gmail domain—the world’s most popular email provider. It’s intuitive, quick to use, and works on any device. By default, Gmail has some useful security benefits: it supports TLS encryption with Gmail and two-factor authentication.

Teams using Google Workspace can take advantage of additional security benefits, including S/MIME email encryption, advanced phishing and malware detection and spam filtering. In addition, Google Workspace provides TLS reporting, and the ability to configure an inbound mail gateway, which allows admins to configure email filtering based on MX-record redirection.

Google has a unique “Password Alert” feature, which helps users to remediate against phishing attacks by alerting admins if anyone in the team puts their Google password into a non-trusted website.

We’d recommend Google Workspace to teams looking for a secure cloud-based email platform, particularly those looking for great collaboration tools.

Trustifi Logo

What Users Like: Powerful outbound email encryption and email recall if you send the wrong email by accident. Easy to use and install.

What Users Warn: Sometimes the customer service team can take a while to reply.

Trustifi is an enterprise cloud-based email security provider designed to secure corporate email communications and ensure compliance. It provides secure outbound email protection with intuitive and easy-to-use encryption, and powerful inbound email protection with phishing detection and malware scanning.

Trustifi Email Encryption is one of the most user-friendly secure email encryption platforms we have tested. It works seamlessly with all major email providers, and automatically encrypts any emails containing sensitive email content based on admin policies. Trustifi uses a multi-factor authentication system to ensure that only the intended recipients can open encrypted email messages. Recipients can open these messages in their usual email inbox—without having to use a web portal or create a third-party account.

In addition, Trustifi allows users far greater control over encrypted email messages, including the ability to unsend messages, track when messages have been opened and auto-destruct email content.

Trustifi inbound email protection, Inbound Shield, is designed to prevent business email compromise, spam, malware, and phishing attacks from being delivered to users. Malicious emails are automatically placed into an email quarantine and held for 60-days before being deleted.

We’d recommend Trustifi for organizations looking for an easy-to-use, fully featured encryption solution to improve security and ensure legal compliance with email content.

Abnormal Security Logo

What Users Like: The solution is extremely accurate at stopping malicious email, and customer service is strong. The interface is user friendly.

What Users Warn: Some features can be tricky to implement.

Abnormal Security is a cloud-native enterprise email security solution, part of a new generation of email security products that analyst firm Gartner refers to as “Cloud Email Security Supplements.” Abnormal Security is designed to work seamlessly with Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace via API, providing enhanced protection against threats inside the email network, without requiring any mailbox configuration changes.

Abnormal sits inside the email inbox environment and profiles known “good” user behavior with the use of machine learning systems. Unlike email gateway technologies—which can only filter between “good” and “bad” emails—this system allows Abnormal to detect sophisticated email threats like phishing, that are malicious, but don’t contain any malicious links or attachments.

For this reason, Abnormal is a great solution for organizations struggling with advanced email threats like account compromise and social engineering. It also helps to reduce admin overhead, with clear reporting, automated threat remediation, and a simple user interface.

We’d recommend Abnormal Security for organizations looking for powerful cloud email security to act as an extra layer of email protection on top of Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace.

The Top 8 Secure Email Providers