Email has become an integral part of the modern workplace, enabling businesses to connect with customers, partners, vendors, and other parties outside of their organizations. It also allows employees to communicate efficiently internally, boosting collaboration and productivity.

Email also presents a wide range of security risks because sensitive information and assets can be comprised either through negligence, accident, or cyberattacks on email systems and accounts. Let’s take a look at four essential steps businesses can take on to improve their email security.

  1. Adopt Enterprise Email Security Tools

A sound business email security strategy includes using a variety of tools to prevent hackers and others from obtaining unauthorized access to sensitive business information. Here’s a list of essential tools:

  • Email firewalls to filter and block malicious traffic to email systems
  • Antivirus software that scans incoming and outgoing messages to detect and remove malware
  • Antispam filters to block unwanted and unsolicited emails
  • Multi-factor authentication to verify the identity of users by requiring users to provide two or more forms of identificationto access an email account
  • Email gateway appliances to add another layer of protection against external threats by enforcing rules about what emails can enter and leave your email network.
  • Data loss prevention software to prevent sensitive information from being sent through emails.

Organizations should update these tools continuously to defend against newly discovered vulnerabilities.

  1. Use Email Encryption

Emails are often compared to postcards: Any person or system that comes in contact with them can see what’s written. When an email is sent, it typically travels through multiple servers, networks, and devices before reaching the recipient’s inbox. Encrypting emails and attachments helps protect potentially sensitive business data and assets by ensuring that only authorized people can read them. Encryption is the process of converting email text into a message that can be read only by someone with the correct encryption key.

  1. Educate Employees About Email Security Threats

Providing email security awareness training will help employees recognize the different types of security threats that they may find in their email inboxes. Best email practices to stress include:

  • Establishing and enforcing an email policy that provides clear rules about email usage and what types of business information should not be sent via emails
  • Implementing a password policy to ensure all employees use strong passwords, change them regularly, and avoid using passwords from other accounts
  • Requiring employees to log out of their email accounts when not using them
  • Providing employees guidance on how to recognize phishing scams, and other email threats and instructing them to not open, respond to, click links, or open attachments in an email
  • Prohibiting employees from using business email for personal use and requiring them to use corporate email only on approved devices
  • Requesting that employees avoid sending business emails via public Wi-Fi

Adopting these best practices can empower employees to help reduce the risks of cyber-attacks and other email security issues.

  1. Establish Backups Protocols

Businesses should also develop a backup protocol for emails, which requires saving copies of email messages to a separate server or a cloud-based storage service. Every business should also create a regular snapshot of its email system. Backups are essential for businesses in case of a cyberattack, security breach, or server issue.  A backup minimizes damage by restoring the email system and data.

Strengthening Business Email Security

More than 333 billion emails are sent and received daily worldwide, and the average employee receives about 120 emails a day. Most companies today rely on email as their primary means of communication, but email messages are not as private as many business leaders think. Email threats have become increasingly sophisticated and widespread, targeting users and systems not only at large corporations but at small and medium-sized businesses as well.

To protect their sensitive business information, organizations of all sizes must adopt robust email security systems to avoid risks to their data, reputations, and bottom lines. For more insights on how to strengthen your company’s email security, contact us today for a free security assessment.

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