Email encryption is an important part of doing business online. Encryption is done with two keys. One key is called the public key and the other is called the private key. If you encrypt something with the public key, it can only be decrypted using the private key.
To let people send you secure messages, you distribute your public key, but keep your private key secret. This means that anyone can encrypt a message in a way that only you can read it.
In order for someone to send you a message, they must encrypt it using your public encryption key. Then they send you the message. The only way to read the message is to use the private key. Since your private key is kept secret, you are the only one who can decode the message. This makes it easy for anyone, anywhere to send you a secure message. Your public key can be distributed anywhere without compromising the security of your communications.
If you want to reply to a message with a secure message of your own, you will have to get public key of the person you wish to email. Although this sounds complicated, email programs make it much simpler. Keys that are public are usually exchanged automatically when you email someone. That way if you later want to send them an encrypted message, it is already stored on your computer to be used.
As the world shifts to more online commerce, digital encryption is going to become an important part of doing business. Taking a few minutes now to learn how encryption works will help you be ready for a significant shift in the way business operates.