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Virtru vs. Zix: Choosing the Right Email Encryption Solution for Your Business


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    Email remains the lifeblood of business communication, but it's also a common threat vector: It’s the easiest and most accessible way for sensitive information to leave your organization. . While email platforms like Gmail and Microsoft 365 offer some built-in security, those native protections only go so far. That's where email encryption solutions come in. Two popular options are Virtru and Zix - but which one is the best fit for your organization's needs?

    Here’s our comparison guide between Virtru and Zix.

    Overview of Virtru Email Encryption

    Commercial Sectors: Finance, Healthcare, IT, Aerospace, Education, Technology & Telecom

    Government Sectors: Defense, Intelligence, State & Local Government, Systems Integrators

    Virtru is a global data encryption and digital privacy provider that offers intuitive and efficient email encryption services. These services can be rapidly implemented with minimal training required for users and recipients, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure and private. Virtru also provides client-side encryption for Gmail, along with data protection for files and data in SaaS applications.

    Customers choose Virtru for its ease of use, robust security features, and seamless integration with existing email platforms. The ability to quickly implement encryption without extensive training makes it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes. Additionally, the flexibility to control access to sensitive information even after it has been sent provides peace of mind and ensures compliance with data protection regulations.

    Overview of Zix Email Encryption

    Commercial Sectors: Healthcare, Finance, Information Technology, and Manufacturing

    Zix, now part of OpenText Cybersecurity, specializes in providing email security, backup, and archiving solutions. Their platform includes advanced threat protection, email encryption, and data loss prevention to safeguard sensitive information.

    Additionally, Zix offers secure cloud backup and recovery services, ensuring data integrity and availability. Their platform enables IT teams to maintain the level of control they need - and customers generally appreciate Zix customer support and service.

    Key Features: Virtru vs. Zix by Webroot

    We’re comparing Virtru to Zix on three criteria, the top areas of concern for security professionals looking to change or find an email encryption:

    • User Experience: sender, recipient, and administrator
    • Compliance
    • Security Features


    Let’s begin.

    Ease of Use

    Sender Experience


    Zix’s user experience is a portal-based solution. The end user must log into their Zix account using separate credentials that they are required to create, then compose and send the email. Zix does offer a Microsoft Outlook plug-in, which enables users to encrypt emails within their email client. Zix does not offer, however, any plug-in or add-in for Google Workspace or Gmail.

    Zix uses “best method” encryption, which adapts to the most secure method of encryption based on the configurations of the recipient. The majority of these emails end up being TLS encrypted.

    While Transport Layer Security (TLS) provides encryption between individual users and service providers, it is not as robust as end-to-end encryption. In TLS, a plaintext message is encrypted at the sender's end and decrypted at the server, where it can be re-encrypted depending on the recipient's use of TLS. This means that the message is vulnerable to interception and tampering at the server level.

    On the other hand, end-to-end encryption ensures that data is encrypted on the sender's device and only decrypted on the recipient's device, preventing unauthorized access during transmission. This makes it a more secure option as it protects the data throughout its entire journey, ensuring that only the intended recipient can access the information.


    With Virtru, the sender experience - both in Outlook and Gmail - is simple and elegant, and doesn’t require a portal login to send or access encrypted emails. Virtru runs within your email client, and can be activated without ever leaving Outlook or Gmail. Simply draft an email, and flip the toggle to encrypt. The text within the email and its attachments will be encrypted end-to-end at rest and in transit after you hit send.

    Virtru protects the data in your emails with end-to-end encryption, meaning you can guarantee that neither Google, Microsoft, nor Virtru will have access to your data. Virtru also offers end-to-end encryption without requiring the key exchanges necessary for S/MIME. Instead, Virtru simplifies secure collaboration by hosting and managing key exchanges on behalf of users. Additionally, for organizations that prefer more control, Virtru provides the option to host your own encryption keys (but we’ll get to that later).

    Both services offer a gateway product including DLP that encrypts emails automatically in the background - based on keywords that can be configured by administrators - offering a seamless experience for email users.

    Feature Virtru Zix
    Email Encryption End-to-end encryption for Gmail and Outlook. Only TLS-based encryption that can’t directly protect the data at the object level.
    Persistent Protection for File Attachments Protection beyond email to desktops, drives, etc. via HTML wrapper.  
    On-Demand, In-app encryption and controls  
    Revoke access/recall message Administrators only.
    Set expiration dates Administrators only.
    Disable forwarding.  
    Attachment Watermarking  
    Read receipt visibility for audit  
    Above-line plaintext intro to improve recipient experience/access  
    Mobile email encryption app Separate product and cost.


    Recipient Experience


    Overall, the Zix user experience is not unlike many other secure email services; The user must log into the Zix portal with unique credentials that they must create. Then, they can access and respond to encrypted emails.

    For those who don’t already have Zix, the experience could be slightly confusing: Zix-encrypted emails will appear to be from Zix itself, instead of the person sending the email. The recipient may disregard and not recognize the sender. If the recipient does decide to engage with the email, they will be directed to the Zix portal where they must register with Zix using new credentials. After registering, then logging into the Zix portal, the recipient may view the emails and send replies within the portal.


    Ease of use for recipients outside of the organization is one of Virtru’s biggest points of strength - zeroing in on seamless, secure access and collaboration workflows for recipients.

    Unlike Zix, Virtru-encrypted messages will present in the inbox as the person sending it to you, instead of the encrypted email vendor -  even for those who do not already have Virtru. All the recipient must do is authenticate their identity using existing email credentials (Gmail or Outlook). No portal access is required.

    Virtru also offers additional collaboration options within your email client like secure shared email folders and team accounts.

    While Zix has taken steps to streamline recipient authentication using TLS, Virtru's overall recipient experience is more intuitive and flexible for everyday users and external collaborators alike, while delivering end-to-end encryption for emails and files for stronger security.

    Features Virtru Zix
    Seamless Authentication New credentials required.
    Branded recipient experience Custom logo, text & graphics. Custom text.
    Branded read/consumption experience  
    Recipient Send/Reply Encrypted
    Additional recipient/collaborator support  
    Mobile access


    Admin Experience

    When selecting an encryption solution, it’s important to consider the admin experience. IT administrators are extremely busy and are tasked with fielding many user issues every day. Simple deployment and support matter, especially if email encryption is being used at scale.


    Zix email encryption is deployed via a gateway, which can take significant administrative resources and time to set up at the onset. In addition to providing TLS encryption, Zix also has options for S/MIME encryption, which requires a digital signature/key exchange before encrypted information sharing between two parties.

    Zix's administration capabilities are spread across several separate applications, which can make it more challenging for administrators to manage and monitor the system efficiently. While administrators can set expiration policies for emails, they must use a different application to change an expiration date, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming.

    Additionally, Zix's administrators cannot disable forwarding at the message level, potentially leading to sensitive information being shared unintentionally and without visibility.

    Zix offers a dashboard with canned reports and visualizations, as well as integrated DLP with a broad set of pre-configured rules. The company's partnership with Digital Guardian for enterprise DLP provides more robust DLP rule templates, but this is sold and managed separately.

    Finally, because Zix is portal-based and requires both senders and recipients to set up a username and password, administrators may find that they are fielding more support tickets than is sustainable for their organization.


    Virtru stands out in terms of ease of use for administrators, starting with lightweight deployments. Virtru’s email encryption solutions are deployed as a simple Chrome extension for Gmail, and a simple add-in for Outlook. Other products, like Virtru Secure Share for encrypted file sharing, are also extremely quick to set up, so admins don’t have to go through the work of deploying a full gateway unless they choose to do so.

    All administration capabilities are available via the centralized Virtru Control Center. This single portal allows administrators to efficiently manage and monitor the system, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

    Virtru provides administrators with powerful and intuitive tools to revoke access, change expiration dates, and disable forwarding, both at scale and at a granular per-message level. This flexibility enables administrators to keep data protected as its context evolves, ensuring that sensitive information remains secure.

    With Virtru, a Control Center view is also available to users, so they can take the initiative to change or revoke access as needed, freeing up administrators’ time to focus on fighting other fires.

    Like Zix, Virtru logs system events and makes that event data available for audit reporting and SIEM integrations. We also offer integrated DLP with a broad set of pre-configured rules, providing a comprehensive security solution for organizations.

    While both Zix and Virtru offer robust administration capabilities, Virtru's centralized dashboard and granular control options make it a more user-friendly and efficient choice for administrators looking to manage and secure their organization's email communications.**

    Virtru takes a lot less technical expertise to do the same (or more) amount of email protection and monitoring.

    Feature Virtru Zix
    Admin console Centralized console via Virtru Control center. Separate consoles for audit, DLP and user management.
    User admin


    Permission management separate from user activity logs.

    Revoke/Recall on behalf of senders Per message, sender, recipient, or mass revoke via filtering. Per-message only.
    Change the expiry date on behalf of senders


    Must be done in separate app from expiration policies.

    Disable forwarding for senders Per-message disable forwarding.


    Via policy only, not per-message.

    Read/access visibility
    Audit reporting and event logs Log export support. Dashboard with summary reposts and visualizations, with log export support. 
    SIEM Integration
    DLP Integrated DLP with preconfigured rules, ability to create custom rules. Enterprise DLP via Digital Guardian Partnership.



    HIPAA, GLBA, PCI, etc.

    Zix's email encryption and security solutions are designed to help organizations comply with various regulations, primarily focusing on the healthcare and financial services sectors. Their solutions assist with compliance for regulations like:

    • HIPAA
    • GLBA
    • PCI
    • And more.

    Zix primarily focuses on email encryption and secure communication channels, which are crucial for compliance in the healthcare and financial services industries. However, they may not offer the same level of features and coverage as Virtru, including flexible key management options, end-to-end encryption, and more.


    Virtru's encryption and data protection solutions are designed to help organizations comply with a wider range of compliance regulations across  sectors, including those with more stringent requirements, like:

    Virtru also provides features like data loss prevention (DLP), access control, and audit trails, which are essential for meeting various compliance requirements.

    In comparison, Zix's primary focus is on email encryption and securing communication channels. While this helps organizations comply with straightforward regulations like HIPAA, GLBA, and state-specific privacy laws, Zix's solutions may not be as comprehensive as Virtru's when it comes to addressing a wider array of compliance needs across different sectors — particularly when it comes to government contractors, defense, and manufacturing.

    Regulation Virtru Zix
    GLBA  (Including FTC Safeguards.)

    Security Features


    Data Loss Prevention:

    Zix's Data Loss Prevention (DLP) feature is designed to help organizations protect sensitive information from being leaked or mishandled. The DLP filters automate email encryption and are highly customizable, allowing organizations to tailor the solution to their specific needs.

    These filters work out-of-the-box, making it relatively quick for companies to implement without needing to be compliance experts.

    Phishing, BEC, and Impersonation Detection:

    Zix's Email Threat Protection service also includes impersonation protection, which uses machine learning to detect and prevent impersonation attempts. This feature is able to detect impersonation attempts that use display name spoofing, lookalike domains, and other tactics.

    Additionally, Zix's service includes business email compromise (BEC) protection, which uses a combination of machine learning and policy-based rules to detect and prevent BEC attacks. This feature is able to detect BEC attacks that use display name spoofing, lookalike domains, and other tactics. By using a combination of machine learning, policy-based rules, and sandboxing, Zix's Email Threat Protection service is able to provide comprehensive protection against a wide range of email-based threats.


    Object-Level Protection & Encryption at Rest:

    Virtru gets granular with protection over your emails and files, from the moment they’re created down to the details within them. Virtru’s client-side encryption protects your data at rest, before your email is sent, unlike Zix, which encrypts after sending when it hits the server-side gateway. Virtru also protects emails and files down to the object level, giving you a granular level of security that Zix can't quite match.

    Key Management:

    Virtru allows you to have even more control over the security of your data through the Virtru Private Keystore. Your organization can take complete ownership of your encrypted data by choosing where to host your encryption keys: on prem or in the cloud, so neither Google, Microsoft, or even Virtru has access to them.

    We handle key rotation and policy enforcement for you, but you have ultimate ownership of the keys, ultimately strengthening your Zero Trust posture. You can host your private encryption keys anywhere and collaborate with total confidence that your data remains under your control.

    Email Revocation:

    Humans make mistakes, and your email security solution should hold space for that. Virtru lets users and administrators revoke encrypted emails after they’re sent, no matter how much time has passed. So, any time an employee mistypes the email address of an outgoing email containing a sensitive file (for example, if a nurse sends a health record to the wrong Joe Smith), both the employee and the admin have the ability to revoke access if it is protected by Virtru

    DLP and Gateway Solutions:

    Virtru's Data Loss Prevention (DLP) feature enhances security awareness across the organization by implementing DLP rules that warn users to protect sensitive data - or it can operate automatically, scanning emails for sensitive keywords, text patterns, and other common indicators to ensure data protection before it leaves the device.

    Additionally, Virtru's DLP includes an outbound encryption gateway that works with a virtual Chrome extension. If the extension is active, DLP rules operate client-side, regardless of encryption status. Virtru’s pre-configured DLP rule packages can get you up and running to quickly meet HIPAA, GDPR, CJIS, FERPA, and more - while also allowing you the ability to configure custom DLP rules, too.

    But the gateway protection doesn’t stop at email. Virtru can automatically protect data flowing through Zendesk, Salesforce, Google Workspace, and more SaaS apps, as well as your email clients Outlook or Gmail.

    The Virtru Advantage, As Told By Customers

    When it comes to choosing an email encryption solution, you know what’s best for your business. But it helps to know what peers think, too. Here’s what our customers have to say about Virtru.


    “When our [Zix] contract was up, we knew we could get a solution that was both easier to use and provided us with more control of the content we share. It was an extremely easy decision to make the switch to Virtru."
    Ben Baez, Application Administrator

    Valley Youth House

    “In the past, we had explored using Zix but their DLP rules simply weren’t reliable… With Virtru, everything is both extremely straightforward and flexible in terms of the control that we have over encrypted email content. For example, client case numbers are not something that people typically think could be sensitive data so being able to supplement Virtru’s default HIPAA rule pack with our own custom rules has proven to be extremely beneficial."
    Shaun Michel, IT Director at Valley Youth House

    Global CRM Leader

    "[Virtru] is a much more holistic centralized approach that carries actual certifications, I think is another big piece that… helps our GRC team sleep a little bit better at night."
    Senior Engineer


    “Our transport is materially better than it was. Our costs are materially better. We have trust... And it was frictionless with Virtru. It was honestly above and beyond. This is operational excellence at its peak.
    Karl Jankowski, Information Security and Privacy Manager

    Demo Virtru Today

    At Virtru, we take pride in our legacy of over a decade in protecting sensitive information across critical sectors such as finance, healthcare, government agencies, and education. We are FedRAMP authorized, FIPS validated, and SOC2 compliant, supporting HIPAA, ITAR, CJIS, CMMC, FERPA, GDPR, NIST, and CCPA compliance for over 6,000 organizations worldwide.

    Our unique data security approach is built on the Trusted Data Format, a revolutionary technology developed by our CTO during his time at the NSA. Now an open standard in data protection, this innovation distinguishes us from email encryption providers like Zix, Preveil, Paubox, and many others.

    Unlike traditional legacy solutions that have consistently fallen short, we are committed to future-proofing your data protection. Our approach combines robust security with seamless collaboration, ensuring a straightforward experience for users and streamlined management for administrators.

    Let us prove it to you. Book a demo today.

    Editorial Team

    Editorial Team

    The editorial team consists of Virtru brand experts, content editors, and vetted field authorities. We ensure quality, accuracy, and integrity through robust editorial oversight, review, and optimization of content from trusted sources, including use of generative AI tools.

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