In this technology-driven world, time is of the essence. No one has the time to wait around for sending and receiving important information through letters like in old times.
With new start-ups taking hold of the business world, the competition has become fierce and every second has become crucial for the growth of a business.
Organizations around the globe are dependent on emails for exchanging important and casual information. From digital marketing to communicating among employees, email has become an integral part of all our lives.
With so much information converging on one platform, email security has become the need of the hour.
The email has been the target of spam, scams, phishing attacks, etc. since its inception. Where ever there is information to be stolen, there will be malicious elements ready to destroy your safety.
According to the 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report, email receives 96% of the phishing attacks which is highly dangerous for an organization since they can be rendered vulnerable to data breaches.
Almost everyone who uses the internet has an email account where they receive and send information.
This is all the more true for organizations. Since email occupies a majority of their workings, they are easy and common targets of malicious activities.
Thus, email security should be the top priority of any organization or individual to safeguard their private information such as bank details, address, social security details, client details, etc.
Definition of Email Security
In the simplest terms, email security can be defined as the techniques employed by individuals and organizations to keep their information safe against email threats such as phishing, spoofing, unsolicited spam emails, Business Email Compromise (BEC), detail of service attacks, malware delivery and more.
Email security aims to help prevent any attacks on and abuse of the email communication systems of organizations and individuals. Generally, cybercriminals send deceptive messages to various email accounts to entice recipients.
Once they click on the email, they are either manipulated to divulge private information or if they click on any attachment or hyperlink, unknown to them, such as viruses, malware, and more are downloaded on their computer which aims to harm their device. Thus certain measures need to be taken to ensure the email security of individuals and organizations.
Benefits of Email Security
Since communication through email is an indispensable part of our lives, especially for business enterprises, businesses need to focus on email security.
As small and large businesses continue to rely on email for business purposes; email security provides several benefits to them. Some of the notable benefits have been described below:-
When the client or recipient is sure of the organization’s email security, they will put their trust and faith in the organization as they will be assured of the authenticity of the email and its domain.
2. Fraud, Malware, and Phishing Prevention
As mentioned earlier, email accounts are the hub for fraudulent elements, and malware and are prone to phishing attacks.
Email security measures identify and prevent threats such as spoofing, viruses, and other malicious software from infecting your system.
When it comes to phishing attacks, employees of an organization might be duped by deceptive emails that convince them to click on certain links or attachments that are harmful. Such emails could lead to the disclosure of sensitive information and credential theft.
3. Control Device Access
Email security ensures access to only secured and authentic content, eliminating the chances of malicious content gaining access to your email. This secures the content communicated through emails by ensuring complete control over content access.
4. Avoiding Business Risk and Remaining Compliant
Email security converts the information communicated via email into an encrypted form and its decryption key is only with the recipient.
This means that no outside party can steal your sensitive information by avoiding business risks that might have been caused by data breaches.
Many businesses and organizations such as HIPPA, CJIS, CCPA, CFPB, etc. require email encryption to protect their information.
5. Prevent Identity Theft
It is not uncommon for hackers to steal your information such as your username and email password. In case of such identity theft, important information related to your business can be stolen too. To prevent such identity theft, email security is of utmost importance.
Examples of Email Security
Some common examples of email security are as follows:-
- Using strong passwords
- Frequently changing passwords and avoiding reusing the old ones
- Equipping spam filters
- Installing desktop-based anti-spam and anti-virus software
Best Practices for Email Security in 2022
An organization or business may use its own email security practices but certain preventive measures are common to all associations. Some of the best practices are as follows:-
1. Backup Critical Files
It is always recommended to regularly create backups of critical files. Though effective email security reduces the chances of cyber attacks on an organization, no system is completely foolproof.
The chances of data breaches or loss of data are not entirely zero. To prevent such scenarios, organizations should create frequent backups of their important files and keep those backups in secured and isolated places.
2. Educate Employees
Not every person working for you would have a sound knowledge of email security and cyber threats. A company should organize workshops to educate their employees about basic information on email security, its benefits, practices, and different kinds of malicious software such as malware, spyware, ransomware, etc.
They should be made aware of phishing attacks and data breaches so that in times of need, they can employ the appropriate measures. With the help of periodic training, businesses can reduce the risk of human error caused due to lack of knowledge on part of the employees.
3. Use Strong Passwords
Many people tend to use simple passwords such as ‘123456’, ‘abcd1234’, or names of their relatives, friends, teachers, pets, etc. as they are easy to remember.
However, these are some of the most common passwords used all over the world. It is not a difficult feat for hackers to guess these passwords and hijack your email.
To avoid such threats, it is of paramount importance to use strong passwords.
4. Check for Email Authentication
One way to ensure email security is through email authentication which checks on the sender’s legitimacy through cryptographic standards and protocols.
The common authentication standards are Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC).
5. Use 2-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication
2-factor or multi-factor authentication is useful as they implement an additional layer of security. If your credentials have been stolen by hackers, the additional layer of protection will prevent the hackers from accessing any other content.
Without proper email security measures, an enterprise remains at risk of data breaches and theft of information. Implement the appropriate email security measures to strengthen your enterprise against any such cyber attacks. Formidable email security will create a safe and peaceful working environment for both employers and employees.