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5 steps to securing your emails

Emails provide your business with a convenient means of communicating. Whether you’re sending a quick reply to a colleague or important documents to an employee, emails are excellent for saving time. With this convenience comes some risk, though. Around 92% of malware is delivered by email. In 2017, 77% of cybersecurity attacks were file-less, which suggests emails are highly vulnerable to threats.

Naturally, there’s not much sense in no longer using email. Email communications are part of what makes the business world go around, so stepping away from them is out of the question. However, you can take certain steps toward securing your emails.

1. Use a secure email provider

Finding a secure email provider will become the foundation for all your other email security efforts. Programs like Office 365 offer security features such as two-factor authentication and they automatically block suspicious login attempts. You may also want to prioritize providers that prompt you to receive a code via your cell phone before logging in from a new device.

2. Choose your passwords carefully

Choose your passwords carefully and ensure your employees follow suit. When selecting a password, make sure yours isn’t easy to guess. Although you may assume that most people won’t know which city you met your spouse in, it won’t take long for a hacker to find this information via social media or other means. The same goes for favourite bands, songs, and movies. Instead, choose something that’s entirely unconnected with your day-to-day life. You should also diversify the passwords you use, making sure they’re not the same as the ones you set for other accounts.

3. Add encryption to your email

Encrypting your emails is a safe way to make sure only certain persons can use them. As a result, if someone else attempts to access them, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be able to see the content. You can encrypt your emails by adding plug-ins to your existing software, using private keys to decrypt emails, and more. The method you choose may depend on how sensitive the information within your emails is.

4. Create a device usage policy

Decide whether it’s acceptable for employees to access emails via their portable electronic devices or not. There’s around a 28% chance of your company experiencing a data leakage because of a mobile device over the next two years. With that in mind, it’s worth looking at ways to create a policy that pertains to cell phones and tablets. In some cases, you may want to ensure colleagues have email addresses they can access at work only and email addresses for home use. Such policies ensure sensitive information remains within the strict IT confines of your workplace, with less harmful information reaching your employees. Ensuring the latter takes place is often important for the smooth running of your business, especially if you believe you’ll need to contact someone outside of office hours.

5. Ensure employees receive training on email security

Many employees will consider themselves to be tech-savvy and a lot are probably right. However, that doesn’t mean there are no gaps in their knowledge when it comes to email security. When a new employee starts at the company or if a proportion of your workforce needs a knowledge refresh, create an email security training program. This can include information on key areas such as not opening links from unrecognized senders, never divulging passwords via email, and not downloading files you aren’t expecting.

With a carefully crafted plan, making sure your emails remain secure is achievable. By encouraging everyone in your company to adopt the same approach, you’ll minimize security threats.

Tags: Best Practices, cybersecurity, employee training, tech tips