Email is one of the most important applications. Without it, businesses would be left unable to communicate and unable to share information quickly. The sheer ease and convenience of email has made it a must-have for businesses of all types. Email is used to transmit highly sensitive information including employee information, proprietary data, and contract information. Because of this, it’s crucial that your business properly secures its email.
Keep reading for 7 ways to protect your business and its most sensitive information.
1. Provide Employee Training
Most email vulnerabilities are our own doing. Boosting your company’s email security stance relies on employees to use email best practices. For example, each of your employees should know how to spot a spam email. They should also be able to identify other common email risks such as a phishing message.
Other best practices to teach employees include:
- Always verify the sender
- Share data with those who have a need-to-know
- Never access business email from an unsecured connection
Remember, hackers love to prey on unsuspecting victims. They know how to disguise malicious emails and trick users into opening them. This type of attack can compromise your entire network, so be sure your employees receive training each year.
2. Use Encryption
Sending an email without using encryption puts your data at risk. Encryption makes it much harder for hackers to intercept and read these messages. Installing encryption software on your servers is a must. You’ll also need to ensure that your clients have the ability to decrypt the messages, otherwise they won’t be able to access them. If you’re a small business without a huge budget, there are cost effective options. In fact, TrueCrypt offers high quality email encryption and is entirely free!
3. Keep Things Up To Date
Setting up email isn’t a one and done process. It’s important to ensure that your email server software is routinely updated and patched. If your servers are running outdated software, hackers may be able to exploit a vulnerability to gain access to your business inboxes. Make sure you have a dedicated IT person who is responsible for keeping email software updated.
Aside from email software, you’ll also want to routinely update browsers, add-ons, and other applications. Always running the most up to date version greatly minimizes the risk of your company being hacked.
4. Use Email Scanning
The email software installed on your company’s email server should include scanning capabilities. When set up properly, the software scans and filters email before they ever hit a user’s inbox. These scans can also be used to scan outgoing email messages to minimize the risk of a data leak or information being sent to a user who shouldn’t have access.
5. Use an Email Retention Policy
Businesses send thousands of emails each month. Be sure that your company enacts an email retention policy that includes archiving and removing emails. A retention policy not only boosts your security posture, it also keeps your email server from getting too bogged down with scores of email messages. If the retention policy can’t be done automatically, be sure to send your employees periodic reminders to follow the set guidelines.
6. Use Secure Passwords
The last few years have been plagued with email hacks and data leaks. To protect your business email, using complex passwords is a must. This practice should be enforced for server administrators all the way down to everyday employees. Unique and complex passwords are much harder to break into. Be sure that your employees are following the standard guidelines for passwords including using:
- A combination of uppercase and lowercase letters
- Special characters and numbers
- At least 8 characters
Further boost your business’ email security stance by having users update their password every 6 months. This limits the time a hacker has to launch a successful attack.
7. Be Careful Using Web-based Email
The ability to access business email from anywhere at any time using any device is highly convenient. But, with convenience comes higher risk. Web-based email accounts are prime targets for hackers. If your company has implemented a web-based browser, be sure the connection is encrypted using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protection. For true peace of mind, consider using a data protection service. Private email service providers are so secure that the companies themselves can’t access your email messages! This means the risk of a hacker gaining access to your confidential business information is slim to none.
Don’t put your business’ information at risk. As email-based attacks continue to evolve and become more complex, it’s important to embrace email security. With these 7 tips, you can rest assured that your company’s emails are protected.
Was this article helpful? Do you have a few security tips of your own? Let us know what you think in the comments below.