5 Email Security Best Practices to Protect Your Business
With the rise of remote working came a rise in cybercrime. Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks have been growing exponentially: 65% of companies witnessed at least one such attack in 2020, so the odds are not in any business’s favor. However, by staying vigilant and educated, you can protect your company and avoid such attacks. Keep reading to find out the main dangers business email accounts face and 5 email security best practices.
Phishing is the number one email security threat
Phishing is a type of digital scam that is especially common in emails. It’s a form of social engineering where a hacker tries to deceive an employee into believing the email is coming from a credible source. Phishing emails usually have some sort of CTA: it’s like a form of marketing, if you will. Except that phishing CTAs usually involve clicking on a malicious link or revealing sensitive company data to outsiders.
Well, just like any other marketer, hackers employ creative techniques to improve the conversion rates of their scams. The more deceitful the email, the higher the conversion rate. That’s why phishing emails can be difficult to spot at times. Examples of phishing emails include:
Account verification scam. You might receive a phishing email that looks something like this: “Due to a recent security threat, we would like to ask you to verify your account by signing in through the link below. Failing to do so will result in the permanent deactivation of your account.”
Fake invoice scam. Hackers might send out emails saying, “We still haven’t received your payment for our services. Please use the link below to complete the transaction”.
Spear phishing. This is a more advanced and tailored form of phishing that requires hackers to do some research on your company. For instance, an employee may receive an email that looks like it’s coming from a specific coworker, instructing them to visit a website or disclose information.
Here are the top recommendations for email security
Falling for phishing scams can mean exposing your company to horrible data breaches and malware. These 5 email security best practices will help protect your business from phishing and other forms of cybercrime:
1. Conduct phishing awareness training
Emails usually get breached through employee negligence and lack of knowledge. So the first way to increase email cyber security is to raise awareness about the main threat: phishing. All employees should receive in-depth training on recognizing and avoiding attempted phishing schemes. The main points to cover here are:
Getting familiar with the main phishing schemes
Being suspicious about unusual requests
Never clicking on random links received through email
Once employees are familiar with these precautions, your company’s susceptibility to phishing emails will greatly decrease.
2. Use two-factor authentication
This is a simple yet tremendously effective email security solution. By simply connecting your smartphone to your email, you make your account much safer from hackers. Even if the passwords to your email accounts get leaked, no outsiders will be able to access them without having access to the device it’s connected to. All important business accounts, not just email accounts, should have two-factor authentication enabled.
3. Avoid using email when on public wifi
Public wifi poses massive risks to email security. If it’s unencrypted (which it often is), anybody can connect to the same network. You never know when a hacker will be that someone.
If a hacker intercepts your connection with unencrypted public wifi and catches you logging into your email, they can steal your email password. It’s best to steer clear of public wifi altogether but if connecting to it is necessary, never transmit important data while on it.
4. Encrypt company email
Encrypting company email using special email security software is a great way to sway hackers away. Encryption ensures that the only people able to view the emails are the sender and recipient. If a hacker intercepts an employee’s wifi connection or email account, they will not see any sensitive data.
5. Use strong passwords for email accounts
Strong passwords are the backbone of account safety. Yet, businesses often fail to secure their emails with strong passwords. If your business is like this, you should know that the easier the password, the easier it is to hack, especially through brute force attacks. Brute force attacks are when hackers try to guess a password by flooding your account with thousands of attempts.
To protect your business email from such attacks, make sure everyone within your organization secures their passwords. Secure email passwords are:
Contain different types of characters
Unique (never reused from other accounts)
These points are crucial if you want to ensure the safety of your business. However, passwords that are difficult to hack are also difficult to remember. The last thing anyone would want is to secure their account so well that they couldn’t even access it themselves.
Luckily, the business password manager by NordPass can come to the rescue. If all members of your company use it for their accounts, their emails will be safe, and they won’t need to scratch their heads trying to remember their passwords.
Email account safety is never a given. Even though platforms like Gmail or Outlook do their best to ensure the safety of their users, you can easily fall victim to hackers if you don’t actively protect your account. By following these 5 email security best practices, the chances of getting your business emails hacked will be much slimmer because hackers will likely prefer more vulnerable prey.