The Three Golden Rules of Email Security
Email remains one of the most frequently-used communication methods in the business world – which means, like it or not, you need to make sure your own corporate email portal is secure. Here are a few pointers to help you along.
The impending death of email has almost become a running joke at this point. Every few years, it seems like another publication comes forward to confidently proclaim that email’s days are numbered, and that everyone is going to move to something new and more efficient in short order.
But that hasn’t happened. And if you ask me, it won’t. Certainly, email has been supplanted in some ways – more professionals now rely upon internal messaging tools, social media, or text messages to keep in touch with one another.
That doesn’t mean it’s going anywhere anytime soon. The fact is that email has been part and parcel of how we communicate online for so long that many people can’t even conceive of using something else. And the truth is, email still does offer some advantages over newer forms of communication.
Your own organization probably makes extensive use of email technology. Your employees probably regularly share sensitive files and data through your email portal. It’s up to you to protect that data.
Rule One: You Need Security Software
Email is an oft-neglected security vector for many businesses – and that’s a problem. If you aren’t using an email data loss prevention system to block email-based attacks, monitor suspicious outbound mail, and prevent privacy violations, You need to be. Ditto if you don’t have an antimalware solution to prevent attachment-based malware, and an antispam tool to keep inboxes clean.
Otherwise, you’re doing the equivalent of leaving the keys in your car in a bad neighborhood.
Rule Two: Education is Essential
Do your employees know how to recognize a spear-phishing email? Do they know the danger of opening attachments or clicking links from an unknown or unfamiliar sender? Do they understand how to use VPN software to access corporate email accounts?
More importantly, do they understand why all that knowledge is important?
No matter how ironclad your security software, your employees are always going to be your weakest link. And attackers know that – it’s why phishing remains one of the most common attack vectors in the world. Train your employees against the common tactics criminals might use.
Additionally, make sure they’re aware of your security policies and processes (as well as why those are in place).
Rule Three: Encryption is a Must
Last but certainly not least, ensure all outbound email is encrypted in some way. Whether you apply that encryption to attachments or to entire email messages is up to you – but ideally, you’re going to want to do both. And you’ll want to do it in such a way that the process is invisible to your users, lest they become frustrated and start using personal email instead of corporate.
Email Will be With us For a While
Like it or not, email is going to remain one of the most important communication tools in the business world. That means that as a business owner, it falls to you to keep your messages and attachments safe. And now you know how to do exactly that.
About Matthew Davis — Matthew works as an inbound marketer and blogger for Future Hosting, a leading provider of VPS hosting. Follow Future Hosting on Twitter at @fhsales, Like them on Facebook and check out their tech/hosting blog, http://www.futurehosting.com/blog.
Also published on Medium.