Communication is the backbone of an organization, and emails are a crucial medium. However, complete reliance on emails can also make it highly vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.
Moreover, as hackers find new ways cause data breach, organizations need to be increasingly vigilant about their data security measures. It becomes increasingly vital to ensure business email security.
Here’s how you can do it.
Table of Contents
- #1: Cybersecurity Awareness Training
- #2: Monitoring Email Habits
- #3: Implementing a Corporate Email Policy
- #4: Strong Email Defenses
- #5: Improved Password Management
- #6: Two Factor (2FA) or Multiple Factor Authentication (MFA)
- #7: Vigilance Against Phishing Emails
- #8: Scanning Attachments Before Opening
- #9: Avoiding Public Wi-Fi
- #10: Using the Right Devices
- #11: Encrypting Emails
- #12: Email Security Hygiene
- #13: Prevent Data Breaches
- #14: Logging Out of Accounts
- Business Email Security – Key Takeaways
#1: Cybersecurity Awareness Training
Emails are a common route to spread malware, spam, viruses, and ransomware and lead to vectors such as phishing and scams.
Since micromanaging and monitoring employee actions is not possible, they are the first ones to be exposed to cybersecurity threats.
Cybersecurity awareness training should cater to specific groups, helping gauge their liabilities and responsibilities. Such steps can prevent email-borne threats, prevent advanced attacks, and ensure organization safety.
Cybersecurity awareness training helps employees gauge the scale of threats, which ensures the organization’s safety without micromanaging workflows.
The training involves how to spot email threats and the consequences of falling for such attacks.
It should show what cyber threats and suspicious emails look like. This can be done by running workshops about email best practices.
Training platforms may help with creating engaging training materials so that the staff stays informed and updated about email threats.
#2: Monitoring Email Habits
According to a Verizon report, 94% of breaches involving malware occur through email.
Monitoring email habits may sound simple but is important for secure email communications.
Email habits that should be examined include:
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Daily email frequencies
- Communications with entities outside an organization
These keep the most vulnerable factors in check. Email analytics tools help know more about employees’ email habits and the associated risks.
#3: Implementing a Corporate Email Policy
A corporate email policy is a formal document that establishes the rightful use of the company email. These guidelines ensure that employees are aware of their responsibilities when using their emails.
This helps the organization hold an employee responsible for an email breach.
The corporate email policy may also include guidelines about the personal usage of the company email address.
The policy should entail retention issues, limits to the types of files to be shared, handling confidential data, and guidance to handle prohibited data. A common example of practicing control is that the management can read and monitor employees’ emails residing on the mail server.
#4: Strong Email Defenses
Strong email practices includes having a strong email gateway.
Strong email defenses can evade malware and phishing threats and filter emails to remove spam, graymail, and other harmful emails.
Such practices ensure that the employees are safe from opening emails that compromise data security. Email account management helps with comprehensive reporting and offers increased visibility into email threats.
#5: Improved Password Management
Strong passwords are the foundation of a secure account.
A safe practice includes consistently changing passwords on platforms, which include email accounts, social networks, popular news sites, and more. A strong password protects cloud, on-premise, or hybrid models.
Having a singular password eases the breach for a hacker and grants them access to multiple platforms and accounts. This can be prevented with a secure management system with a strong password policy within the organization.
Weak passwords may also fall prey to phishing techniques that ask users to reset their passwords or spoof a website to scrape off an employee’s credentials.
This emphasizes the importance of setting different passwords for each account and changing them consistently.
Here are guidelines to ensure a strong password:
- Should be unique
- Should include upper and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers.
- Include uncommon words or random strings of letters
- Refrain from obvious words or dates
#6: Two Factor (2FA) or Multiple Factor Authentication (MFA)
Relying on passwords is not enough when advanced technology has made it easy to crack them. A two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication helps strengthen email accounts with an additional security layer.
A two-factor or multi-factor authentication refers to logging into an account and getting a notification after completing the verification step to prove the user’s identity.
This is done through methods such as entering a code (one-time password) sent to their smartphone, using an authentication application that displays a unique code, or a biometric authentication such as a fingerprint.
This helps protect the account despite a revealed password.
#7: Vigilance Against Phishing Emails
Almost 90% of data breaches occur because of phishing, making it a critical threat to consider in business email security.
Phishing refers to emails that seem genuine, asking users to hand over their credentials and other information by leading them to ingenuine websites. Such false pages may also trick you into providing payment details.
Phishing emails may claim to be from a genuine authority such as banks or legal institutions to build fake credibility while conveying the urgency to act.
To ensure safety, you should pay attention to email address, tonality, and grammar.
Organizations may protect employees through firewalls, Secure Email Gateways (SEGs), sandboxing, and Uniform Resource Locators (URL). These tools help scan emails for links, content, and attachments.
Post-delivery protection also helps in spotting phishing emails through machine learning algorithms to detect and automatically remove phishing attacks. Further, they show an email banner within the emails to warn the user of a suspicious email.
According to Verizon, phishing attacks compromise the following types of data:
- Personal data
- Internal data
- Medical data
- Banking data
#8: Scanning Attachments Before Opening
Organizations frequently send or receive emails. Emails from unknown sources may include attachments that shouldn’t be opened. While it may make you curious, you shouldn’t open the emails or simply send them to the trash bin without confirming their status.
Antivirus or anti-malware tools help scan these attachments. You may delete the email or block the user if the email is suspicious.
#9: Avoiding Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi isn’t as safe compared to other public internet providers.
Accessing your emails over public Wi-Fi is like inviting a hacker directly to your network. What makes the process easier is they only need basic software to breach public networks.
Hence, a best email practice is using mobile internet when working outdoors to ensure safety.
#10: Using the Right Devices
Ensuring safety procedures has led organizations to work on their devices including smartphones and laptops.
However, working for an organization may still require booting your devices with safety tools and software. You should also be wary about the devices you use, as they may be used by someone else.
This can put your data at risk or make your previous actions vulnerable to being traced, thereby jeopardizing data security.
#11: Encrypting Emails
Encryption ensures that emails are received and read by the intended person.
Encryption gives employees control to revoke access to messages sent to the wrong person and check when and who opened those emails.
It further prevents common threats such as malware attacks or business email compromise (BEC) ensuring that sensitive data is not read or used by hackers.
#12: Email Security Hygiene
Organizations may deploy antivirus software that scans files, networks, and websites for malicious activity. This also prevents malware from being downloaded on devices, making it a crucial aspect of email security for businesses.
Antiviruses also prevent opening or downloading malicious links or attachments on the devices, and if they are downloaded, it helps discover them as well.
Moreover, endpoint protection solutions monitors every device connected to an organization by running system scans that track access and usage across networks.
This is done by issuing alerts and blocking traffic when malicious activity is detected, which also helps with safe access in remote systems.
#13: Prevent Data Breaches
The primary aim of an organization is to prevent data breaches and leakages. All the above-mentioned objectives prevent hackers from targeting organizations and misusing their data.
This also requires adding a security layer with organization, customer, and financial data, when using public or open Wi-Fi.
#14: Logging Out of Accounts
Logging out of accounts whenever you finish your tasks is an excellent practice to ensure security when you are away from your device.
This works incredibly well when using an unfamiliar device so that your information is not compromised when someone else uses it. Inculcating such habits can be significant for those who usually use shared devices.
This should also be practiced when using your device, in case it reaches someone else’s hands.
Business Email Security – Key Takeaways
Emails are a primary mode of communication with partners, stakeholders, customers, and prospects in an organization. Hence, protecting users and devices throughout the communication process is a basic and vital practice.
Moreover, as hackers have developed sophisticated techniques for safety breaches, the need to ensure data and email security is more crucial than ever.