Email can be a gateway for cyber attacks, from spam to malware and phishing. Attackers target weaknesses in an organization’s email security to steal sensitive information and spread attacks.
More than passwords is needed to counter attackers. Its essential to business email security. This provides another layer of verification on top of username/password, such as a one-time code sent to employees’ phones or biometric data like their fingerprints.
Use Strong Passwords
Email is a powerful communication tool, but it’s also an extremely vulnerable one. Cybercriminals can use email to send malicious files, steal information, and more. Keeping your employees informed about email security best practices effectively reduces the risk of cyberattacks.
One of the most critical email security best practices is to use strong passwords. This means using passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess, such as those containing lower and upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password manager can help employees create and manage strong passwords.
In addition, it’s a good idea to encourage employees to use different passwords for each account. This helps to ensure that if a password is discovered in a breached account, it cannot be used to gain access to other accounts.
Another essential email security best practice is to use two-factor authentication (2FA). When logging in, an employee must provide another credential besides a username and password. This could be a PIN received via SMS, a time-based one-time code app, or biometric data (e.g., fingerprint, eye, or face scan).
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Email is a critical business communication tool susceptible to several types of threats. These include malware, phishing attacks, and spam campaigns. Attackers use these tactics to steal sensitive information from employees and the organization.
Two-factor authentication should be implemented to help reduce the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access. This security best practice requires employees to provide a second verification factor besides their username and password. It may be a code sent to their phone, a security token, or biometrics like a fingerprint. This makes it more difficult for attackers to access their accounts even if they have stolen the password.
It is also important to consider email encryption as a business-wide best practice. This type of solution analyzes outbound emails to identify any sensitive content. It then encrypts the message before sending it, ensuring only authorized recipients can read it. This protects against the accidental disclosure of confidential information to unauthorized parties or even from hackers who have access to the company’s servers.
Avoid Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are the most common type of email-borne cyberattack. These scams use fraudulent emails to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, and account information or clicking links that redirect them to a fake website. They can also contain malware that infects a computer or other device. These attacks can be generic or targeted, known as spear phishing, and they may even impersonate a colleague.
While you can’t prevent every phishing attack from slipping through the cracks, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of them. The first step is to ensure your employees are trained to identify these malicious messages, including the telltale signs of phishing and how to report them.
It would help if you also encouraged your team to never click on hyperlinks in suspicious or strange emails and instead copy and paste the URL into their browser to verify the request. Ensure the “From” name and email address clearly identify who is sending the message, and don’t forget to spell check! Grammatical errors are a hallmark of phishing attacks, so it’s essential to proofread everything before hitting send.
Use Data Encryption
Email is one of the most common ways organizations share information with third parties, but it’s also a prime target for attackers. From phishing attacks and malware to business email compromise and data leaks, attackers seek ways to access sensitive information from your organization through emails and attachments.
Email encryption protects the contents of your emails so that only the intended recipient can read them. This helps to prevent hackers from stealing valuable information, even if they gain access to your company’s servers or email clients.
Using an email security solution that automatically encrypts messages for all employees will save time and help to reduce employee frustration. It will also make meeting compliance requirements for regulations easier.
Training your employees to never reply to phishing emails or spam will further help reduce risk. This best practice will help stop attackers and avoid costly mistakes leading to a data breach.
Ensure Employees Log Out at the End of the Day
In addition to ensuring employees use two-factor authentication (2FA), which requires a second verification factor besides a username and password, email security best practices should include enforcing data encryption. This will prevent hackers from accessing emails, even if they obtain an employee’s login credentials.
Ensuring employees log out of their email platforms at the end of the day is another crucial email security best practice. This is because it ensures that an attacker cannot access the platform when they’re away from their desk.
It’s a good idea to encourage employees to use 2FA when using their devices, such as mobile phones. This will require them to enter a one-time code sent to them via SMS, text, or voice call or to use a biometric system such as face or fingerprint to sign in.
It’s also essential to discourage employees from sending business emails through their accounts. This is because mixing business and personal communications can lead to various threats, including spear phishing. Educating employees through cybersecurity awareness training about the risks of mixing business and personal emails can promote this email security best practice.