How to Use Secure Email Services for Safe and Private Business Communications
Emails have become an indispensable tool for communication in both personal and professional settings. However, it is concerning that email security is inherently weak, putting confidential information at significant risk. Emails are essentially plain text and can be easily accessed and intercepted by unauthorized users, making data breaches highly possible. Regrettably, a considerable number of individuals are oblivious to the fact that they are relying on email server administrators to safeguard their confidential data. Inadequate security measures can transform email into a conduit for cybersecurity threats, such as malware and spam dissemination. Hence, it is essential to comprehend this predicament and adopt appropriate measures to secure email correspondence. This write-up highlights the five email security best practices that must be adhered to.
1. Follow a Strict Policy
The management document governing the proper use of company email is of utmost importance. Its purpose is to lay out explicit instructions for all employees, so that they may understand their responsibilities when using company email. By following these guidelines, employees will avoid engaging in inappropriate behavior and uphold a high standard of conduct. With an email policy in place, employees are held accountable if they breach the agreed terms. Furthermore, this policy defines how employees must use company emails, including strict guidelines on personal email usage, outlining whether personal emails are permitted on company devices. A well-drafted email policy provides a foundation of trust between employees and the company, enhances productivity, and mitigates potential legal issues.
To provide a clear example, an email policy can specify that management is authorized to access any employee's email messages saved on the mail server, but not on the employee's workstation. Additionally, the policy may state that employees are subject to monitoring for compliance. Prior to access approval, employees must acknowledge reading and comprehending the policy by signing a confirmation document.
2. Use a VPN
It is imperative that only company-issued hardware be permitted to connect to the internal corporate network, whether through VPN or not. Furthermore, users must not be authorized or able to install any software on their devices without explicit administrator permission. This regulation serves as a preventive measure against DDoS attacks. The corporate world employs various types of VPNs. For instance, you may use VeePN US VPN to establish a secure connection. It has a reliable VPN US server that allows you to access the Web quickly. You may need to consult with your IT provider to determine which VPN type your company uses and whether it suffices for your business's security needs. In most cases, your employees will significantly benefit from using VeePN or other similar services. However, it is recommended that employees connecting to company networks from hotels and airports refrain from using VPNs for financial or sensitive transactions.
3. Organize Security Training Sessions
To mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks and protect the organization's data, it is imperative for organizations to offer security awareness training programs to their employees. These programs aim to educate employees on identifying potential threats to the organization's information, as well as how to avoid situations that could put the organization at risk. As the weakest link in information security, human error can undo even the most sophisticated technical controls. Even if an organization has the best technological controls in place, if employees are not adequately trained, these controls will render useless. Cyber attackers depend on exploiting vulnerabilities and human behavior to infiltrate systems. To safeguard company assets, implementing a security awareness training program equips employees to recognize and act on possible security breaches.
4. Use Email Gateways
To safeguard your business against harmful phishing attempts, a secure email gateway is an absolute requirement. By intercepting and blocking potentially dangerous emails, a secure email gateway significantly reduces the risk of compromised user credentials, email hosts, and sensitive company data. Think of it as a firewall for your email. It scans both inbound and outbound emails, quarantining or blocking malicious content and preventing it from reaching its intended recipient. No matter the size of your business, such a tool could be an effective way to protect your users and enhance your overall protection against email threats. Ensure the safety and security of your company's email system by investing in a secure email gateway.
5. Utilize Password-Management Tools
A common misconception is that complex passwords equal strong protection for email accounts. However, this belief often results in poor business email security as employees write down their passwords on sticky notes or store them in vulnerable files on their desktops. Instead, research shows that password length, not complexity, should be the primary focus for password strength. The security industry's stringent password complexity rules burden users with the requirement to provide unique, complex passwords of a minimum length of eight characters, including one upper case, one lower case, one number, and one symbol for each email account. By prioritizing password length over complexity, organizations can significantly enhance their email security practices.
Time and time again, research has demonstrated that users struggle to recall complex passwords. They resort to writing them down or storing them in easily discoverable locations, undermining the very purpose of security. Furthermore, even if a user does succeed in creating a complex password, they may encounter difficulty remembering it and accurately inputting it, particularly when it includes numbers and special characters. Simply changing passwords on a regular basis merely gives users a false sense of security.
We recommend not requiring users to change their passwords unless there is evidence of a security breach. Tools like Google's Password Checkup browser extension can quickly determine if your password has been compromised. For high-risk accounts that require added security, MFA is highly effective and easy to implement.
Email security is an essential component of any organization's overall cybersecurity strategy. By utilizing secure email gateways, password-management tools, two-factor authentication, and end-user training programs, organizations can take significant steps to protect their emails from malicious attacks. This will not only help ensure the safety and privacy of the company's data but also protect its reputation and brand integrity. With the right combination of tools and best practices, organizations can keep their users safe and secure while providing them with an optimal user experience.