Today, email is one of the most prevalent communication channels between businesses and their customers, partners and vendors. In fact, an average person receives 121 business emails every day. However, with cybercriminals using phishing attacks to steal user credentials and other malicious methods to gain access to sensitive information and intellectual property, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for businesses to stay safe while using email as a means of communication. Read on if you want to know what security best practices you need to adopt in order to keep your company safe from email hackers in 2023.
1. Know who’s sending you an email and what device it was sent from
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure that you are able to identify who’s sending you an email, and also, from which device(s) they are sending it from. This will help you identify whether the email is legitimate or if it is likely a phishing attempt. If an email was sent from an unknown source, be sure to verify the identity of the sender before you click on any links, open any attachments, or share any sensitive data.
It’s also important to know the device that the email was sent from because this can reveal whether an email is legitimate or not. This is because some organizations use IP reputation services to determine the reputation of an IP address. If an IP address has a bad reputation, then it means that it’s likely that the device is infected with malware. On the other hand, a clean IP address is likely a device you can trust.
2. Block or strictly verify emails from unknown senders
In addition to knowing the identity of the sender, it’s also a good idea to block emails from senders that you don’t know. This is because, even if you know the identity of the sender, unless you have a business relationship with them, you are unlikely to have any idea what their intentions are. If you don’t know who the sender is, and you don’t have a business relationship with them, there’s no reason to ever click on any links or open any attachments in their emails. Instead, you should block these emails by adding the sender’s email address to your company’s email security blacklist. With issues such as malware infections, spam, and phishing attempts on the rise, it’s important to block emails coming from senders that you don’t know. This way, you can avoid the possibility of a serious security breach.
3. Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication
Another thing that you can do to strengthen the security of your email account is to use strong passwords. For example, if your email account is hosted by Gmail, you can use password strength analyzers to determine whether your passwords are strong enough. Not only should you use a strong password, but you should also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) for the account. 2FA is when a user must have two forms of identification to get into an account—typically a password and a token of some sort. For example, you can enable Google’s 2FA service by downloading the Google Authenticator mobile app, and then scanning the QR code on your computer screen.
4. Don’t click on unknown links or attachments in emails
One of the most common ways that cybercriminals gain access to email accounts is by tricking users into clicking on malicious links or downloading malicious attachments. If you’re not sure whether you should be clicking on a link or downloading an attachment, then you shouldn’t do it. The best way to avoid falling for malicious links and attachments in emails is to simply delete them. Don’t click on any links or open any attachments unless you are 100% sure they are legitimate. And if you receive an email from your boss, IT department, or C-level executive, and there’s a link or attachment in it, verify the source before clicking on anything.
5. Don’t forget to Encrypt your Emails Documents
Secure Email Certificate or Personal Authentication Certificates are used to encrypt the email documents. A PAC certificate can assert the personal identity of the email sender and lets the sender to digitally sign and encrypt the email documents within minutes. It is also featured with the two-factor authentication, hence only the intended parties can view the email as well as email documents. The Secure Email Certificates can digitally sign MS Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Etc.), MS Visual Studio, and Apache Open Office documents.
6. Make sure your email software/app has the latest updates
When it comes to email security, it’s important to make sure that your email software/app is updated with the latest security patches. If you are using a web-based email service like Gmail or Outlook, then it’s important to make sure that your browser is also updated. A lot of times, an outdated browser can lead to an outdated version of the web-based email software. If you are using an email client like Outlook, then you should make sure that your email client is also updated with the latest security patches.
7. Use certified email service providers for cloud storage and collaboration
As the volume of business communications continues to grow, it’s becoming increasingly common for organizations to use cloud-based collaboration tools and file-sharing services like Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive. However, while these tools can be a great asset to businesses, they can also open up new security risks. These cloud-based collaboration tools and file-sharing services can be targeted by malicious actors posing as employees to gain access to sensitive information. As such, it’s important to use trusted collaboration tools that are certified and have been audited for data privacy and security.
With email being the most common communication channel between businesses and their customers, partners, and vendors, it’s important to stay on top of email security best practices. To stay safe while using email, you can know who’s sending you an email and what device it was sent from, block or strictly verify emails from unknown senders, use strong passwords and two-factor authentication, don’t click on unknown links or attachments in emails, and make sure your email software has the latest updates. Finally, use certified email service providers for cloud storage and collaboration to ensure you’re keeping your company’s communications secure.