According to the World Economic Forum, natural catastrophes and climate change were the top global hazards in 2022 an onward, followed by data breaches and cyberattacks.
Email is still one of the most prevalent attack methods used against businesses. For this reason, email security best practices cannot be stressed since most businesses depend significantly on email for day-to-day interactions. Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) and phishing assaults, malware, and ransomware, as well as workers’ missteps, may all be used by cybercriminals to get access to corporate email accounts.
An email attack is expected or probable, according to 60%, according to the Mimecast State of Email Security 2021 Report. Insufficient email security may result in data loss and downtime, as well as breaches of financial, intellectual property, employee, and customer information. You might also lose income and market share, pay penalties, and have your good name damaged if you let go of such important papers in the wrong hands. It’s particularly true for people who work in highly regulated fields like the financial and legal sectors as well as publishing, schools, and hospitals.
A cyber resilience plan that prioritizes email security is still lacking in the business. Each sort of email attack may be countered with a dedicated standalone email security solution. Enterprise email security cannot be effectively protected without IT departments having complete insight and control over the whole process. They can’t do it any other way if they want to be completely safe from any assault.
Here are different recommended practices for email security that you can implement into your business cyber security plan.
Use Secure TLS Servers for Email Protection
You may interact with your email server using TLS, which is an encryption technique that enhances the security of your communications. Encryption is done using two “keys”. One is public and the other is secret, which only a receiver may access. Because of this, an email can only be viewed by the sender if they have the recipient’s private key.
Better Password Management
Stolen credentials are a major headache for businesses. For hostile actors, passwords to SaaS accounts are a goldmine since they include important data such as client information and financial information that may be used to perpetrate attacks. Most firms lack a dependable method of managing passwords or ensuring that workers are updating their passwords consistently.
Phishing emails often invite consumers to change their passwords or log in to a bogus account page to steal their credentials. Even if a business has email protection and regular security training in place, it may be very difficult for a user to tell whether an email is fake.
Strong password management procedures are one of the most critical email security strategies. Use secure passwords that are different for each account for all of your customers and employees. That way, if one account is hacked, the risk of other accounts being compromised is reduced. Enterprises can deploy password management tools to better manage passwords. Admins can see who is using weak passwords and who is using strong ones thanks to these systems, which make it simple for staff to apply them.
Passwords should be:
- Numbers and symbols in both capital and lowercase characters
- Uncommon words
- Contains no names, or any other information that is readily identified
- Unique to every client
Using this method, even if your account credentials are stolen in a phishing attempt, you can keep your data safe.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
In today’s cyber-threat scenario, passwords alone aren’t enough. When it comes to protecting their email accounts, users should instead utilize a two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) system.
A user’s login to their email account with 2FA or MFA is accompanied by a notice to complete another step in the verification process. A One-Time Password (OTP) provided by text message, an authentication app that shows a unique code or biometric verification such as a fingerprint may all be used to accomplish this goal.
So even if hackers get their hands on users’ passwords, their accounts will remain unaffected.
Email encryption guarantees that only the intended recipient will be able to see the contents of an email. It also provides email senders additional control, including the ability to revoke access to communications sent to the incorrect person and to know who accessed the emails.
email-borne virus assaults and corporate email compromise are two prevalent threats that may be prevented by encrypting the emails sent and received (BEC). In addition, it protects the confidentiality of important email data from possible hackers.
Prevent Data Breach and Leakage
Security breaches and leaks of confidential information are two of the key goals of good email security measures. Employee training, email security solutions, and urging users to protect their passwords and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) may all help prevent attackers from targeting users and exploiting weaknesses.
Additional security precautions include avoiding open or public Wi-Fi networks and adopting technologies like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that encrypt data transmissions.
Be Aware of Phishing Emails
Businesses face one of the greatest dangers to their security from phishing attempts. Email spoofing is a method used by cyber thieves to deceive people into handing over their account information, making fraudulent payments, or luring them to dangerous websites. Phishing emails are often communications that purport to be from service providers, such as banks, that warn victims that they have an urgent problem they must fix.
Email security best practices, personnel training, and technology may all be used to thwart these attacks. There are a variety of tools available to protect against malware, including firewalls, secure email gateways, sandboxing, and technologies that search for harmful links, content, and attachments in the URL.
Employee training also raises awareness of phishing, as users learn what phishing emails look like and how to prevent them via training. Phishing emails often utilize urgency-inducing language to compel consumers to take action, such as logging into their online bank accounts.
An example of a phishing blocker is the Guardz platform. This tool will also remove spam emails and mails with malware-infected attachments. The service also identifies business email compromise, which is a trick that con artists use to impersonate a manager and order a clerk to make a payment.
The Guardz system also provides a library of user security awareness training courses that educate employees on how to scrutinize emails effectively and avoid being tricked. Another feature that is included in all Guardz plans is a Dark Web scanner. The looks at hacker sites where data is for sale and will raise an alert if a subscribing company’s email addresses appear on these lists for sale. The Guardz system is delivered from the cloud and needs to be administered by a managed service provider (MSP). You can explore the service with a 14-day free trial.
Antivirus and Endpoint Protection
Endpoint antivirus protection, which may be installed on all of your work computers, is one method of ensuring the security of your email. Malware and ransomware distributed through email will be prevented from infecting your endpoint devices thanks to this crucial step in the fight against both.
Infected files and links to malicious download websites may be used to spread malware through email. Antivirus software scans files and websites for harmful code and assists users in eradicating it from their computers when it is discovered.
Management interfaces for enterprise endpoint security systems enable IT teams to keep track of all endpoints on a company network. To execute system scans and monitor access and use, they may utilize this. A unified and easy-to-use system should enable administrators to produce reports, monitor activities, and execute scans. This makes it easier to keep tabs on employees who operate from home or on their own devices.
Use a Spam Filter
Email providers like Gmail and Outlook, as well as your secure email gateway, often have spam filters built-in. If you don’t want to see any spam emails in your inbox, this tool will assist you do so.
Before your customers see them, it’s a good idea to screen out spammers that give you malware, ransomware, or dangerous links.
Statista estimates that in 2021, around 306.4 billion emails were sent each day, with almost half of that amount (43%) being spam. Spam filters reduce the stress of opening your email and seeing a deluge of spam. As a result, your staff will be better able to concentrate on their inboxes and be more sensitive to questionable activity.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Remember that public Wi-Fi connections are vulnerable to attack, and warn your employees of this. Anybody connected to the same public Wi-Fi network that an employee is using to view their company email might see what they are typing in. To monitor and obtain access to email personal information, malicious actors may use open-source packet sniffers like Wireshark. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network and don’t want your inbox to be automatically updated every time you login, practically all systems will do it for you. Using a Wi-Fi network exposes a user’s account details to hackers.
Use only well-known and safe Wi-Fi networks for checking email.
Don’t Click on Email Links
The web domains linked to via hyperlinks in email may not always correspond to the ones they purport to represent. While the domain name www.amazon.com may appear on certain URLs, it may really redirect to a malicious site. It’s very uncommon for attackers to use misspellings or foreign character sets in order to establish domains that look to be those of well-known companies.
Never click on a link without first hovering the mouse cursor over it to verify that the link you’re looking at is the correct one. Always put the domain name straight into your browser instead of clicking on an email link.
Investigate Suspicious URLs
Oftentimes, scammers will attempt to get you to click on a link that links to a site where you may download malware or anything of the same kind. Before opening any link in an email, particularly if it comes from an unknown source, do some research. Is this a URL that you’ve seen before? For example, a fraudster may change only one word or phrase of a domain to deceive you into believing the URL is authentic, such as paypal.net instead of paypal.com, or goggle.com instead of google.com.
For further security, the “actual” URL they’re providing you may be hidden behind a link shortening service. Fortunately, most link shortening services enable you to test a link before officially clicking it, like putting a + sign on the end of a bitly.
Train your Staff in Cybersecurity Awareness
First and foremost, employees are the first line of defense against email-borne assaults for enterprises. In order to lower an organization’s cyber risk and keep its data safe, cybersecurity awareness training helps workers understand the challenges they face. Encourage your staff to be vigilant about email security and to know the repercussions of not following best practices.
Companies must educate their employees on the dangers of opening emails from unknown or unrecognized senders and the consequences of doing so. The best procedures for securing email attachments and simulating phishing emails must also be taught in these courses.
The best way to avoid email attacks is to look at your position honestly and estimate the consequences of a corporate or personal breach. Human mistakes and out-of-date technology are just two examples of the many variables that network security and threat intelligence must take into consideration. It becomes an issue of whether or not you have the necessary personal bandwidth and resources to do everything.
When you use on-premises security services, you will be giving up a certain amount of control. However, outsourcing cloud security for your emails may possibly increase your safety while also lowering your overall costs. Whatever option you choose, keep in mind that your efforts will be more than compensated for by the benefits. If you can successfully implement all of our recommendations, you can significantly reduce your chances of experiencing a damaging data breach. Incoming and outgoing emails will be covered by data protection, which is a tremendous relief for everyone who uses email on a regular basis.