The word “email security” refers to various processes and strategies for defending email accounts, information, and communications from unwanted access, theft, or compromise. Spam, phishing, and other types of attacks are frequently disseminated by email. Attackers lure victims into providing sensitive information, opening attachments, or clicking on URLs that download malware onto the victim’s device by sending misleading communications.
Therefore, it is essential for businesses to take the necessary precautions to make sure that their employees do not fall prey to attacks deriving from emails. Emails should merely be a means of communication for your company, not the reason its data gets compromised.
Since emails are such a crucial part of all companies, a more robust set of email security best practices are essential for company success.
Email security best practices
- Encourage employees to change passwords regularly
Employees might be accustomed to avoiding changing passwords since it is annoying to have to remember them, but the business world is absolutely unforgiving when it comes to cybersecurity. Changing passwords frequently is one of the easiest ways for employees to ensure the security of company email accounts.
Every year, password leaks and data breaches occur, and one of the easiest precautions employees can take is to change their passwords regularly. When you consider that 19% of breaches are due to stolen or compromised credentials, it can already be too late by the time an organization sends out an email urging employees to change their passwords.
- Use MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
Multi-factor authentication, often known as MFA, is a technique to increase the security of email accounts. The fact that employees must approve mobile device sign-ins to their accounts adds an extra layer of protection. Since they won’t have access to your employees’ mobile devices to authorize the sign-in, even if a cybercriminal manages to obtain company passwords, they won’t be able to access email accounts.
- Watch out for email attachments
Email attachments make it easy for malware to spread. Once accessed, risky email attachments have the ability to install malware, delete data, or provide attackers access to private data. Knowing what to look for and putting the proper precautions in place is essential for defending your company against the danger coming attached to emails.
One of the best ways to protect your company against dangerous email attachments is to train your staff. You should advise them to think about the sender when they get an email with an unexpected attachment. Cybercriminals frequently change email names to make their communications appear to be from a reliable source. It is thus important to double-check the email address and name fields.
It is a good practice to prevent attachment types that are especially prone to malware and virus infection, such as .exe files. If an employee requests access to these files, it might be granted on a case-by-case basis.
For a more secure precaution, your IT team should make sure that all the operating systems and software used in the workforce are up to date. If your operating system has an option for automatic upgrades, it is also a good idea to enable them.
- Don’t allow employees to use their work emails for personal use
You should make sure that employees do not use their work emails for personal use, even if it’s for sending a brief message. Employees should always use their personal emails for their personal matters outside of work. The risk of receiving malware and attracting hackers increases when employees start using their work emails to handle their personal chores.
- Use DNS filtering
DNS stands for Domain Name System and it is the internet’s equivalent of a phone book. It is the mechanism that changes hostnames, or domain names for websites, into IP addresses, which may then be used to locate and load such websites in web browsers. For example, if you are on youtube.com, “YouTube” is the DNS of that website.
Accessing some particular websites can be a bad idea from the start. You might feel the need to block access to some websites for your employees, and DNS filtering will help you do just that. Once you filter a DNS with solutions such as the DNS filtering service by NordLayer, any contact between your employees and that DNS server is terminated.
DNS filtering significantly lowers the likelihood that malware and viruses may enter your company network. An employee cannot access a bad website, hence there are very few risks that can find their way into your architecture.
- Encourage your employees not to use public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are never secure, as you may already be aware. Hackers can compromise the kind of data moving via a public network using even the simplest of software. You should encourage your employees to utilize mobile internet anytime they are away from the office to prevent data breaches caused by public Wi-Fi. You can even get special data plans for your employees to be able to work safely in public places. The cost of a data breach would be much, much higher.
- Double-check links before clicking on them
Employees should double-check the destination it will take them to before clicking on any links on an email. Even if the link appears to be coming from someone they know, they should not click on it if it looks untrustworthy. They should ask the people sending the link if they send the email by giving them a call or texting them.
To avoid being diverted to an untrustworthy website, they might also input the website address directly into their browser.
When it comes to email security, the stakes are very high. There are no boundaries once hackers are inside your network by compromising email accounts. An attacker may be able to get past your company’s whole security plan with only one email. Fortunately, the best practices for email security discussed above will increase resistance to email-based attacks. Start defending your business with a combination of preventative measures and appropriate employee training!