It is necessary to maintain robust email security to protect not only business and personal identity but also any sensitive information being sent over emails. In this modern age, businesses heavily rely on email for other purposes aside from communication, such as for marketing, finance, and sometimes as a conduit of vital information. It is an indispensable tool that often gets targeted by malicious attacks.

According to Verizon, 94% of malware is sent by email. Once an unsuspecting staff opens the attachment or clicks a link, the threat could successfully take advantage of any vulnerability in the system and wreak havoc.

To protect yourself and your company from unwanted threats, email security must always be upheld and maintained, and here are some tips for you.

Periodically Change Passwords

The most apparent and immediate action you can do to prevent attacks is to change passwords regularly. Most email platforms recommend a password at least 10 characters long with a random mix of numbers and letters that do not spell out any recognizable phrase or words. They also suggest using symbols, punctuations and a combination of lower- and upper-case letters.

However, changing passwords will never be enough to secure email accounts since hackers can dig up information about you and use it to activate the recovery function of the email. Still, it is safer to do it routinely than keeping a simple password for years that will be easy to guess by hackers.

Enable Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of protection to reinforce the password of your email account. Most email clients have this feature and ask you beforehand before it is activated. It’s a simple concept that uses another device or application to confirm your identity and that you are trying to access your account.

The 2FA uses a one-time code before you can log in to the email. It’s an excellent way to prevent data breaches on web applications, which is why you should consider activating it for email accounts, too.

Use SSL or TLS

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) deliver secure channels to send emails. It helps send emails securely between the computer and an SMTP service, which in turn encrypts the email or the transport layer to ensure that no malicious attackers can eavesdrop on the content as it is being delivered.

Encryption is mostly dependent on whether the email provider applies such protocols. The recipients’ mail server should support SSL and TLS before they can receive and correctly display the email.

Verify Senders

Phishing emails contain malicious links that look ordinary to the untrained eye. Training the staff to discern between a legitimate email and phishing or spoofing one is crucial to protect the whole network from a possible data breach. Sender identity should be verified via a digital signature software to indicate that they are sending valid emails.

Reverse DNS can also be activated to determine and block phishing senders to foil their plans through your emails and other channels with sensitive information.

Update Antivirus Software and Email Systems

Unauthorized access to any sensitive data is possible since hackers use sophisticated applications and machinery to spy on your network. It’s a must to implement patches on the email systems and install or update your antivirus software regularly.

Antivirus software is capable of scanning outgoing or incoming emails to detect and stop malware, viruses, trojans and other malicious threats. Since hackers get more creative with their attacks and new vulnerabilities are found almost every day, you must update the antivirus software to get the latest virus definitions and block them before they can infect the system.

Think Before Clicking

It’s not a secret that the weakest links in any cybersecurity strategy are humans. Phishing is a grave threat to any company’s integrity and operations, which is why it is recommended to continuously train or remind staff members about email security. Teach them to carefully tread when clicking any link or downloading any attachment, especially since 66% of malware can come from files embedded in an email.

Holding regular comprehensive security training for employees equips them with the knowledge to minimize threats and prevent mistakes that are otherwise easy to spot if they only know how to differentiate what is safe and what is not.

Final Thoughts

Email security is your company’s safe bet towards data protection, which is why we recommend you to follow these tips and implement them rigorously to prevent malicious attacks and to save the company from losses.

Also, creating a strict email policy within the company will help to mitigate the risks, and help the staff feel at ease when using email correspondence in their daily tasks and transactions.

NST’s email security services work in tandem with leading cloud-based email management products to block threats before, during and after attacks. Contact us today to learn how you can keep your email system secure.