Email is a wonderful tool for sending and receiving an abundance of information both quickly and securely; however, it is extremely vital that your personal information remains safe through the process and that you are not open to viruses or hackers. Although it is likely that your IT staff understands and follows the appropriate safety measures, it is essential for your organization to implement security policies for all employees who access secure company information through the internet, whether on-site or remotely.
It probably comes as no surprise to business owners that email is a primary way for hackers to gain access to sensitive company data and information; but what may alarm you is to know that small businesses are particularly vulnerable. It stands with reason- if such large companies with multiple layers of security could be hacked, then small businesses with fewer resources have no hope to guarantee their safety, right?
Fortunately, there are many ways to ensure that your business is protected through secure email. Since your business’s security is only as strong as your weakest link, the secret is to get employees involved and invested in the success of your company’s information security.
Create An Email Security Plan
When an email has been sent, you no longer have control over what is done with it or to whom it is forwarded to. Common email scams employ email messages and even websites that look official, when in fact, they are only an attempt to commit fraud and steal your identity. This is an activity commonly known as ‘phishing.’ It is without question that sensitive information such as passwords, bank account numbers, and social security numbers should never be sent via email, but neither should any of your company’s important customer data.
Make it a top priority to create and implement a cybersecurity plan. Of course, this will involve more than simply considering how to ensure secure email service; it should also include strategies for keeping your website, payment information and other information safe. Overall, addressing email security should be the main component of your plan.
Always Use Encryption
Email encryption helps to protect personal information from hackers by only allowing certain users to access and read your emails. There are several different methods of email encryption to choose from, depending on the level of security and convenience your company may require. For example- you could download or purchase extra plugins for Microsoft Outlook, or you could install an email certificate like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy). The second method allows your employees to share a public key with anyone who wants to send them an email and use a private key to decrypt any emails they receive. Another common solution is to use a third-party encrypted email service. Office 365 already provides end-to-end encryption options like S/MIME and Office 365 Message Encryption services to help you meet these needs with little up-front work.
Make Sure Passwords Are Secure
All employees should have their own password for their work computer and email system, and these passwords should be reset every three months. The strongest passwords consist of at least 12 characters in a combination of numbers, symbols, lower-case letters, and capital letters. Passwords should not be something obvious like birthdays, children’s names, etc., but should still be memorable. Also, employees should be advised not use the same password for multiple accounts or websites either for work or personal use.
Something to consider would be permitting the use of a password manager software or a single-sign-on function, or requiring a multi-factor authentication when employees decide to change their passwords, which would prohibit unauthorized entry.
Train Your Employees On Email Safety Precautions
Email fraud is an effective way for cybercriminals to trick users into providing confidential information or opening a malicious file attachment, leading to critical system infrastructure. All hackers and scammers have to do is craft a message that appears to come from a legitimate company and create a sense of urgency to entice the user to complete the desired action. The one good thing about email or spam attacks is that they all require user-interaction, so they’re relatively easy to avoid if you follow the following steps:
- Ensure antivirus and anti-spy software is updated and running on your computer.
- Never open links or attachments from unknown persons.
- Don’t respond to emails that request a password change and require you to divulge personal information, no matter how official the source appears.
- Don’t automatically forward company emails to a third-party email system.
- Don’t use your company email address to send and receive personal emails.
- Encrypt any emails containing sensitive data before sending.
In today’s technology-driven world, we understand how these disruptions can cause frustration and lost productivity. At ECS, our managed services allow you to focus on your business and forget these distractions, ensuring up-to-the-minute protection against email spam, viruses, phishing, and other attacks to your data & network, as well as tools to educate your employees on security best practices. Get peace of mind knowing your business is protected and contact Enterprise Computing Services today!