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5 Golden Rules in Email Security

December 16, 2022 No Comments

by Stefanie Shank

Modern businesses have myriad ways to communicate. With so many applications on the market – and more arriving each day – to facilitate the sharing of information and ideas, many have tried to declare the death of email.

Realistically, though, there’s plenty to go around. No matter how many apps organizations use to communicate, email still has its place. After all, inboxes track conversations and attachments better than other solutions on the market, such as chat apps. If you want to send an important document or make an announcement to a targeted audience, email reigns supreme.

Of course, the enduring presence of email comes with inherent risks. Much as SaaS and cloud products are prime targets for cybercriminals, email exploits are still popular (and successful) means for cybercriminals. In fact, attacks such as phishing and business email compromise (BEC) were featured prominently in a recent FBI cybersecurity report.

So, how do you keep your organization secure? Bear in mind some golden rules in email security:

Training and Education Are Key

Regarding security, it’s important to factor in the human aspect of vulnerability. Robust policies and tools will build a strong foundation, but you still need to ensure your end users are aware of the risks and prepared to make educated decisions.

Building a risk-aware culture ensures you stand a chance against bad actors. Start the conversation at onboarding and ensure risk is a part of your everyday lexicon. Cybercriminals’ tactics are constantly evolving, and it’s crucial to keep your end users abreast of the current cyber and email security landscape.

Don’t Underestimate Password Requirements and the Power of 2FA

Email accounts hold the key to a lot of vital business information. Cybercriminals can access crucial information often stored in mailboxes, using it to their benefit. Worse yet, if an email account falls into the wrong hands, a bad actor could send requests and emails disguised as a legitimate end user.

Control access to email accounts by enforcing strong and unique passwords and regular updates. Moreover, give your end users a secure way to store and keep track of passwords themselves. Consider using 2FA for a high level of security, leveraging codes sent to SMS, alternative email addresses, via voice calls, or security hardware tokens.

Filter the Fakes and Encrypt the Genuine Emails

Email spam isn’t just digital junk mail. While some of these messages may be obviously false, others can be convincing. Spam, phishing, and messages containing malware are common methods of manipulation by cybercriminals. Help protect your end users by filtering spam messages before they arrive in their inboxes.

More than filtering fake emails as best you can, it’s crucial to encrypt genuine communications. Protect your valuable data by encrypting all messages to keep them safe from prying eyes.

Maintain User Accounts Appropriately

A key aspect of any security strategy is the management of user accounts. Ensure a smooth and swift process for both onboarding and offboarding end users. Languishing accounts for users no longer with the company is a glaring vulnerability and often goes unchecked when exploited.

Have a policy for end-user permission levels, as well. Keeping data secure means limiting access only to those who need it. While it can be easier to establish accounts without fine-tuning permission levels, the more end users you have, the broader the potential attack surface. Keep admin access to a minimum so that in the event user accounts are compromised, the value to a criminal is limited.

Use Security Software

Email security and data breaches are often a matter of misuse and missed signals by end users, but that doesn’t mean it’s the end users who hold all responsibility. Education and security policies build a strong foundation, yet you should still use robust security software to protect your network, end users, and data from criminals.

According to VIPRE security, some key aspects of a security platform include:

– Anti-phishing protection

– Encryption capabilities

– Spoofing detection

– Sensitive information scanning

– Recipient and attachment checks and receipts

– Endpoint and malware protection

– Integration with existing technologies

Prevent criminals from exploiting security holes by building robust policies, prioritizing end-user education, and leveraging the power and expertise of a professional security software platform.

Follow These Golden Rules, and Stay Ahead of Cybercriminals

In the modern era, security can feel like a never-ending task. New threats are always emerging while cybercriminals grow more cunning and determined. Thankfully, protecting your network, data, and end users is relatively easy with the right security strategy in place.

Following these golden rules will help your organization build a robust email security approach. By training your end users, building risk-aware culture, enforcing strong passwords, maintaining end-user accounts, and using email security software to plug any holes, your business can rest easy knowing you’re safe.

Having spent her career in various capacities and industries under the “high tech” umbrella, Stefanie Shank is passionate about the trends, challenges, solutions, and stories of existing and emerging technologies. A storyteller at heart, she considers herself one of the lucky ones: someone who gets to make a living doing what she loves. Stefanie is a writer for Bora.

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