When was the last time that you checked your mailbox? Not your virtual one, but the physical box that sits outside your office. Do you even have a physical mailbox anymore?
If you’d asked Ray Tomlinson, sender of the first ever email back in 1971, whether he thought the platform would be synonymous with communication, he probably would have laughed you out of the room. Even in the ‘80s, email security tips weren’t a consideration, because emails simply hasn’t taken off! But today, email has become an intricate part of life, both personal and professional.
In fact, email is so ingrained in our daily routines and operations that when mailboxes and communications get attacked, it can have a severe impact for any business. Keeping your mailbox and emails secure has never been more important, but it’s something that many businesses and individuals struggle with. That’s why we’ve put together these 8 email security tips to help you keep your communications safe from attack.
Best Email Security Tips for Business in 2023
1. Keep Your Emails Encrypted
Most businesses use email as their primary form of communication, and send anything and everything over email – from invoices, to payment details, even usernames and passwords. Ensuring that the contents of your mails are safe from prying eyes is essential for both your security and your reputation. That’s why one of the top email security tips is to encrypt the contents of your mails so they can’t be intercepted by unwanted readers.
2. A Strong Password is Your Greatest Defense
Using strong and unique passwords for your emails is one of the easiest email security tips to implement. It makes it far more difficult for attackers to gain access to your communications. The most common way for cybercriminals to gain access to information is by uncovering a user’s login details. If you use a popular password, like these from 2021, or use the same password in all of your login details, you’ll make it easy for attackers to gain access to your communications.
If you’re worried about remembering all of your different passwords, consider using a password manager to keep track of your credentials across websites.
3. Use the Cyber Security Tools at Your Disposal
Almost every device comes with pre-installed anti-virus software. Make sure that yours is set up for email protection. That way it can scan attachments and even detect unauthorized access.
But anti-virus software isn’t your only defense. When you use solutions like Microsoft 365, you gain access to sophisticated technology that scans and analyses your mails to detect questionable links and attachments, and warns you not to open them.
4. Public Wi-Fi is a No-Go
If you’ve ever accessed the Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or airport, you may have noticed the security warning that comes up. While many people ignore it and continue their browsing uninterrupted, when you are dealing with sensitive communications, it’s important to know that public wireless is insecure.
Attackers often set up software on public Wi-Fi networks to monitor user activity and record user credentials. Whether they gain access to a single mail containing sensitive information, or your email login details, either case could be detrimental. The risk involved is simply too great, which is why one of our email security tips is that you should never conduct important business over a public network. It’s far safer to either wait until you have access to a private network, or use a VPN to cover your activity.
5. Think Before You Open
It’s easy to say that a person should never open unsolicited mail, but it’s not one of the particularly practical email security tips. As businesses, you will be getting emails from unfamiliar people all the time! Rather, think before you open an email from an unknown contact. Check the sender name and subject line.
If you think it’s a legitimate request, open the email, but do check who it was sent to as soon as you do. Spam emails will often not list you as the recipient, or have your email address misspelled, since they get sent to every variation of address the sender can think of.
And finally, if the email has an attachment, don’t open it unless you trust it. Make sure the attachment is the file type that it should be, since spammers will often send attachments that sound legitimate but are saved as different formats.
If the sender is someone you know, but the mail or attachment seem fishy, contact the person who sent it directly to find out whether it’s really from them.
6. Find a Reliable Provider
Another of our email security tips: Not all service providers are equal when it comes to spam detection. Smaller service providers often don’t have the capacity to filter the emails that come through their servers. This makes it important to use a trusted, reliable and secure email provider like Microsoft, or trusted IT specialists like Solid Systems.
If you are using a smaller provider, and many, many businesses are, then ask them about their email policies when it comes to spam. That way you can make sure that you’re getting the emails you need (without important ones being caught in filters), and filtering out those that you don’t.
7. Filter Out Spam
While your email provider should be stopping most spam from reaching your address, the process is a bit of a finnicky one. Some emails can look like spam when they’re actually legitimate, while other emails can look legit and turn out to be spam. This is why it shouldn’t only be left up to your service provider.
As part of our email security tips, we’d advise that when you get a spam email, filter it into your junk folder. This will ensure that you don’t open spam emails, or click on their links and attachments, in error. It also helps providers like Microsoft to detect malicious content. If you’re using a smaller email or service provider, you may even want to pass spam along to them so that they can better train their spam filters.
8. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is a critical security measure that can aid in the protection of email accounts from unauthorised access.
To access their email account, users must provide two forms of authentication, typically a password and a code sent to a trusted device such as a smartphone. When compared to using just a password, this adds an extra layer of security, making it more difficult for hackers to access email accounts even if they have obtained the password.
By implementing 2FA, businesses can help to protect sensitive information such as client data, financial information, and confidential business communications, ensuring that only authorized users have access to this information. Additionally, using 2FA can help to reduce the risk of phishing attacks and other cyber threats, making it an essential part of any email security strategy.
Now that you’ve read through our email security tips, you may be wondering what the next step is for ensuring secure email communications as a company, rather than an individual. How can you action these email security tips for employees? This is where Solid Systems steps in – helping you implement email security across your business. For more than 18 years, we’ve been providing companies with the security tools they need to succeed and grow. Let us help your business – contact Solid Systems today to secure your communications.