Did you know that over 90% of all targeted cyber attacks start with email?
For most organizations, this should be a wake-up call. Even if you’re not exchanging state secrets, hackers still care about your emails. And with how quickly email attacks evolve, keeping up with them can be difficult.
The good news: a proper security strategy will solve most of these issues. Here’s what you need to know about email security and how to use it.
What Is Email Security?
These days, managed IT security services include email security that can refer to a variety of procedures. The one thing they have in common is that they protect your emails against bad actors.
See, the thing about the email is that it was originally designed to be an open format. Accessibility was—and still is—the name of the game. That’s part of the reason why email became such a popular communication method.
Unfortunately, this accessibility comes at a price. Since email is an open format, anyone who intercepts it can view it as well. As a result, many hackers use email as an entry point to come by valuable company data.
To address these issues, organizations started investing in various email security solutions. These procedures protect email accounts and content against any kind of unauthorized access.
Common Email Security Threats
Not sure which email attacks are the biggest threats to your business? Here are four security threats that you’re most likely to encounter today:
Phishing email is a fraud method that disguises a malicious email as being from a trusted source. The intent is to trick the recipient into installing malware on their computer or sharing sensitive information.
A targeted phishing attack is best known as spear phishing. Both attacks use emails to reach victims, but the latter sends customized emails to a specific person. Hackers often research their target before sending the email.
We tend to think of spam as annoying rather than dangerous. That said, spam emails can include malware, trojans, and harmful links. Most spam comes from networks infected by worms or other viruses.
Spyware is a type of software that’s installed on a computer without its user’s knowledge. It often comes with data capture, activity trackers, and other ways to gather information about a person.
Pharming involves redirecting the user’s traffic to a fake website that appears official. Once they think they’re connected to a real site, they may use it to enter their personal information.
Benefits of Effective Email Security
Is your organization starting to get complacent about securing the data shared in emails? If so, here are three benefits of prioritizing email safety and IT security in Los Angeles and beyond:
Identifies Suspicious Actors
An online security platform can check outbound messages for spam and other threats. In doing so, you can detect compromised accounts that are sending and receiving large volumes of emails.
Provides Phishing Protection
As phishing attacks evolve, your security needs to evolve with them. Most security measures stop phishing emails before they get to users’ mailboxes. Other measures focus on using anti-impersonation software.
Prevents Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks encrypt files on a computer to make it unusable. Then, hackers demand a ransom in exchange for the encryption key. By identifying and blocking suspicious links, you can prevent this from happening.
Best Practices for Email Security
Now that you know why email safety is important, it’s time to bring it to the next level. These five email security tips will help you achieve that.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Strong passwords help, but they may not be enough to deter hackers. To kick your security up a notch, use multi-factor authentication (MFA). This protocol requires users to input a PIN or code before gaining account access.
If the MFA is active, hackers will need more than a password to get through. These systems are common in Gmail and other cloud-based email servers. For added security, you can use password generators as well.
Set up Email Security Protocols
The purpose of email security protocols is to keep employees safe from the above threats. These protocols prevent hackers from using your company’s name and verify that all outgoing messages are safe.
One example of an effective security protocol is DMARC. As hackers try to make their phishing emails seem credible, they may imitate your domain. With DMARC, you can prevent domain spoofing and see the email sender.
Secure Email Attachments
When it comes to cybersecurity tips, securing email attachments should be near the top. Oftentimes, these attachments contain information that’s even more valuable than the email itself.
The best way to protect your attachments is to encrypt them. For starters, this prevents them from getting hacked in transit. Beyond that, encryption also prevents recipients from sharing attachments with outsiders.
Add a Legal Disclaimer
Many email recipients aren’t aware that they’re receiving confidential data. To change that, include a legal disclaimer at the bottom of emails that contain private data. These include legal contracts, health records, and so on.
In some industries, disclaimers are a legal requirement as well. Even if they aren’t, they hold up in legal disputes better than you may think. That said, make sure that your disclaimers are relevant to your compliance.
Help Employees Stay Compliant
Speaking of compliance, your employees need to be aware of it too. Ensure they know what sensitive data is and when they’re likely to come across it. Awareness training can do wonders for making people more alert.
If you don’t have rules about email security, create them. Let your employees know that all emails should be work-related. Oftentimes, using broad rules and making exceptions is easier than listing all prohibitions.
Email Security Made Easy
At the end of the day, email security is all about doing research. Access your situation objectively and identify the biggest threats to your business. Then, use the above list to protect yourself against them.
Don’t have the time to invest in maintaining an email security infrastructure? An outsourced IT support company like Be Structured can help ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest email safety protocols.
Contact us right here—we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.