Email Security Practices Every Business Should Follow

employee checking email on computer

Email has long since become the backbone of modern business communication. However, it is also the primary avenue for many cyber threats that can compromise sensitive data and damage a company’s reputation. While email is convenient and essential, the ease of access and transmission also creates opportunities for unauthorized access, malware, and phishing attacks.

Small businesses, in particular, are vulnerable since they often have less sophisticated email security measures, making them an attractive target for cybercriminals. An average of 91% of cyberattacks on businesses begin with an email, and according to the FBI, email scams cost businesses billions in 2022, a figure that is expected to keep rising.

Luckily, there are several measures that every business, regardless of size or industry, can implement to mitigate these risks. Here’s a rundown of essential email security practices that your business should adopt to safeguard against digital threats.

1. The Importance of Strong Passwords

The first line of defense for any email account is a strong and unique password. Long gone are the days when ‘password123’ was a secure option. Today, passwords must be complex, including a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. The use of a password manager can be extremely useful in generating and storing these complex passwords securely.

2. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to present an extra identifier as well as a password. This could be in the form of a temporary code sent to your phone, a biometric identifier, or a physical security key. MFA significantly reduces the likelihood of unauthorized access, even if your password is compromised, and is now a baseline for secure online business practices.

3. Identifying and Avoiding Phishing Scams

Phishing is a method of attempting to acquire important information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity via email or text. Employees must be trained to recognize phishing red flags such as spoofed email addresses, generic greetings, and urgent requests for sensitive information.

4. No Click Policy for Suspicious Links

A click on a suspicious link can lead to catastrophic consequences for a business. It can result in the installation of malware, the theft of sensitive data, or even the compromise of the entire network. Promoting a no-click policy for suspicious links and providing tools to scan links and attachments before opening can save companies from serious email security incidents.

5. Implementing Email Encryption

Email encryption is a critical way to ensure that emails and attachments are not readable by unintended recipients. Encryption encodes a message so it can only be decrypted by the intended recipient with the right key. This is crucial for compliance with security regulations such as HIPAA and for protecting sensitive business information.

6. Keeping Software and Antivirus Updated

Running outdated software can leave your business wide open to security vulnerabilities that could be easily fixed. It is essential to keep operating systems and antivirus programs updated with the latest security patches. Regular updates ensure that businesses have the most recent protections against the latest forms of malware and hacking attempts.

7. Ensuring Secure Email Servers

Your business’s email server is the central hub for all your email correspondence. It is thus a prime target for cyberattacks. Investing in a secure, reliable email server, and ensuring that it is properly configured, is non-negotiable. This might involve employing a dedicated IT professional to manage the server, or outsourcing email server management to a reputable service provider.

8. Continuous Employee Training and Awareness

Untrained employees can be your greatest weakness when it comes to email threats. Regular training on how to spot suspicious emails, the importance of not sharing login credentials, and the proper procedures for dealing with sensitive information is critical. Furthermore, fostering a culture of security awareness can lead to employees being more proactive in reporting potential threats.

Partner with Fresh Managed IT for Comprehensive Email Security Solutions

Implementing these email security practices is no small task. Fresh Managed IT offers a comprehensive suite of security solutions that can do the work for you to protect your business from email-borne cyber threats. With a focus on education, technology, and best practices, we can fortify your business’s email security to ensure the safety of your digital operations.

By partnering with Fresh Managed IT to adopt these email security practices, businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerability to cyber threats and protect their sensitive data. Contact us today to start securing your business email.