It’s easy to look at phishing attacks and think: “That would never happen to me!” Newsflash: no one is completely immune to cyber threats. In fact, according to a recent Forbes article, 43% of cyber-attacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% are fully prepared to defend themselves. What’s more, 30% of businesses consider phishing actors to be the biggest cyber threat today. If these numbers are anything to go by, email security should be a top priority for your enterprise from now henceforth. Here are four handy tips to guide you in this quest.
1. Take Two-Factor Authentication Seriously
Who said two-factor authentication (2FA) is way behind the wheels of time? Propaganda aside, this email security strategy still works wonders in the modern cybersecurity realm. That’s because it adds another layer of protection to your corporate email account — another lock on the door. Email-based 2FA suffices where the first factor was compromised due to guessed passwords or brute force. Good news is, almost every email platform offers two-factor authentication. If, however, your current enterprise system doesn’t support it yet, opt for another email provider. Act fast and deliberately. Remember, it takes just one minute of laxity for hackers to pounce on any loose and feebly-secured corporate emails.
2. Use a Certificate Lifecycle Management System
You absolutely have to use some sort of encryption for your emails in today’s cyber security landscape. There are multiple kinds of encryption, but certificate-based seems to be less risky than data-centric, point-to-point, and the variety of other encryption models you’ll find.
Why? Because most email certificates validate the identity of the user and encrypt and decrypt emails and attachments on the go. With a trusted certificate manager, you can finally put a stop to hackers and phishing scams by ensuring there are zero (read: nil) security loopholes in all of your corporate email transactions. Best of all, email certificates automatically put you in the good books of regulatory requirements like HIPPA, GDPR, and DFARS. That’s a one-two-three punch that’s difficult to get with any other enterprise encryption service.
3. Settle for Stronger Passwords
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Yet you’ll find a good chunk of American employees still using passwords like “Qwerty,” “12345”, and the likes. In the enterprise world where highly sensitive, mission-critical emails change hands daily, passwords of that mold are simply unacceptable. Instead, opt for stronger passwords with more complex character choices. It’s even better if you can have different passwords for every email account you have. That way, you’ll significantly reduce the odds of a hacker intercepting or guessing your passwords. It’s also prudent to make use of a password manager just so you don’t lose track of your login credentials.
4. Employee Education is Mandatory
For years now, enterprise owners have been trying to educate users on avoiding cyber threats — double-checking an email address to make sure it isn’t a spoof, not opening email from unknown sources, or taking extra care when opening links or clicking attachments. However, a bulk of these techniques still succeed, and it’s a puzzle most leaders are yet to crack.
For the best results, make the concept of email security to your employees crystal clear. In other words, outline a clear message about what is occurring in your organization regarding email security and cybersecurity as a whole. Such a message needs to be understandable, relatable, and diversified. While at it, teach your team how to spot suspicious activity. Encourage them to immediately report suspicious signs on their corporate email accounts. Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, it might still benefit the employee by clearing up errors in their device that might hamper productivity.
Lastly, but certainly not least, take advantage of the many online courses that train employees on cybersecurity awareness. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), for instance, has a slew of free and low-cost online training content specifically designed for employees, including webinars, quizzes, and short courses. Alternatively, check out FEMA’s IS-0906 course on workplace security awareness. It takes only one hour, and it’s a good prerequisite for the remote working setup.
Want to Be Better? Act Now
Email security isn’t just crucial — it’s an absolute no-brainer. Follow these best practices to the latter, and you’ll be well on your way to creating an enterprise workplace that’s happier, more productive, and certainly more secure from cyber-attacks. There’s no better time to commit to running a tighter ship than now.