PGP vs GnuPG

Since encryption solutions are vital for ecommerce, many companies have purchased PGP to implement on their servers. However, smaller companies may have difficulty paying the license fees associate with PGP. GnuPGP or OpenPGP offers these companies an alternative. But, can it stand up to it’s expensive counterpart. GnuPG stands for GNU Privacy Guard. It is an open source alternative for encryption.

It is necessary to make sure what type of encryption your server will allow before you begin purchasing or installing either encryption solution. Not all servers will accept GnuPGP and even some email clients are still not compatible with it.

GnuPG was first created for Linux/Unix, but it is now available for several different platforms. It is completely compliant with the Internet Standard for encryption and does offer a very good alternative to expensive PGP solutions.

Using GnuPG, you should be able to read email that has been encrypted using PGP. However, older version of PGP, 2.0 or earlier, may not be compatible. This is really not an issue for an ecommerce site that is simply looking to encrypt the data that is being sent from their server, but it is something to keep in mind if you plan to expand how much data you encrypt.

GnuPG can be somewhat difficult to install, especially for a beginner. If your web hosting company does not provide support for installing PGP or GnuPG, you may find yourself lost with the lack of documentation geared towards beginners. However, there are now more resources available on the Internet that can help you successful install GnuPG on your own.

Once you have installed GnuPG, you will be given two keys, one for your server and one for your email. You will need to make sure that your shopping cart will accept this key and that your email client will allow you to receive encrypted email. Once you have set up your keys, you can generally receive and send encrypted email without having to ever worry about it again.

Is GnuPG a good alternative for small companies? In the overall sense, yes, it is extremely useful to be able to have a free encryption alternative. This means that even the smallest companies can take advantage of encryption techniques and secure their customer’s data. There is no reason why you should let your customer’s data be exposed as it is being transferred to you when there is a free encryption solution available.

If you have been on the fence about installing a PGP solution on your site, you can actually increase your sales by publicizing the fact that you encrypt all of your customers data. They will be able to have the peace of mind that hackers will not be able to intercept their credit card and personal information while they are shopping with you.

This peace of mind can translate into more sales for your company and your own peace of mind. You owe it to your customers to give them not only a secure ordering area, but an encrypted form of transfer for this data.

Related Posts:
Netsite Vault
Understanding PGP
Dot5 Hosting, Dot 5 Web Hosting

Posted on 12/14/05 10:33 PM

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