Internet security is a hot topic among corporate environments. After all, all businesses know they must protect the data they store on the Internet. For many companies, though, they wait until it's too late to put Internet security practices into place, especially when it comes to email security tactics.
If you feel like a data breach will never happen to you, you may want to think again. In 2018 alone, the banking/credit/financial industry endured a mind-boggling 1,707,223 data breaches. The business industry had 22,164,590 breaches of data while the education industry faced 832,115. The medical/healthcare industry had 5,761,001. Government/military entities had 16,766,327. Needless to say, regardless of the industry that you operate in, data protection should remain a top priority. Let's take a close look at email security tips for your corporate environment.
Create Separate Email Accounts
An email account is a central hub to most of your personal activity. From coupons and promos from your favorite retailers to communications from clients and supervisors, your email serves as a centralized database for everything important to you. When you have everything going into one email account, though, this is like keeping all of your eggs in one basket.
One of the best ways to keep from losing all your eggs is to create separate email accounts. The goal is to keep all of your work and personal emails separate. Your Facebook notifications should never go into your business email account. Why would you want your Facebook and business emails jumbled together anyway? With this in mind, make sure to alert all employees that their business emails are to be utilized only for work-related emails.
Stay Aware of Spam, Phishing and Malware
Spammers are really good at what they do. They use everything from keyword logging tactics to phishing emails to steal your business information. From business bank account numbers to credit card information and important customer information data, a single Trojan in your business email account can do a lot of damage.
To keep this from happening, make sure your business email account uses today's latest anti-virus software. Ideally, you'll also want to take advantage of an email account that blocks emails with more than 15 to 20 recipients and prevents the harvesting of email addresses.
Never Open Unsolicited Attachments
If you receive an email from someone you don't know, be very leery of clicking on any links or attachments. The same applies to an email that comes from someone you know but looks suspicious or odd. Hackers can make an email look as if it is coming from someone you know. If you open a link or attachment from an unsolicited email, there's a good chance it will infiltrate not only your email account but your computer with malware.
Even the file name of an attachment can be disguised, so it's best to never open links or files from people you don't know. If, however, you're expecting a file or link from an employee and the email arrives from that employee's address, then it's fine to go ahead and open it. When giving workers their own business email address, make sure they understand the importance of not opening attachments or clicking on links from unsolicited emails.
Encrypt All Emails
Every email you send and receive should come with encryption. Encrypting emails is the single most effective way to keep your emails secure. If you work in a regulated industry, like the financial sector, you'll have to maintain encryption anyway to stay in compliance with mandated regulations and requirements. If you work in the healthcare industry, encryption is necessary to uphold HIPAA compliance. Encrypting your emails reduces the chances of a hacker intercepting your emails. Most importantly, it ensures your eyes are the only one that see the emails being sent to and from your email account.
Use Common Sense
Another easy yet extremely effective way to keep your corporate email account safe is to use common sense. Let's say you have an Amazon account that you use to make business purchases. You receive an email stating your Amazon account has been hacked and that you need to immediately provide your user ID and password to fix the problem.
The best way to address this problem is to call Amazon yourself, and don't call the number provided in the email. Instead, Google Amazon's customer service number and call it. Tell the Amazon employee about the email you received and ask whether it's a legitimate email from Amazon. The Amazon representative can tell you whether a hacker is trying to hack your account or not.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Don't check your email when you're connected to the Internet via public Wi-Fi. You might find yourself tempted to whip out your phone, connect to public Wi-Fi while at the airport, but this type of Internet connection is usually very unsecure. Programs called network sniffers can detect your phone's connection to a public Wi-Fi network. Worse yet, they can infiltrate your phone without you ever knowing it. Everything from your email account to your bank account app are at risk when you connect to public Wi-Fi.
Don't keep all of these email security tips to yourself. Make sure to share them with the whole office. You can even host a regular training session to ensure both newer and older employees are up to date on the latest email protection practices.
About the Author: Brittany Peckham
Brittany grew up in Oregon, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Business School with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resources with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. Brittany has been working with Valicom for many years creating content for the TEM industry to deliver the many benefits users and organizations can experience in utilizing TEM services. With a passion for social media marketing, Brittany enjoys applying creativity throughout various areas of her life while expressing creativity in everything she does and loves being consumed in projects, from start to finish.