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Datalyst has been serving the Massachusetts area since 2010, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Your Email Inbox is a Cybercriminal’s Dream Come True

Your Email Inbox is a Cybercriminal’s Dream Come True

When you drive your car to work every day, it’s pretty easy to forget just how potentially dangerous your commute can be. Obviously, thanks to rules and laws and years of driving experience, most of us can be pretty safe drivers, and we don’t consider that the morning commute puts us at any sort of risk. 

In a similar way, we all use email just about every day, which makes it easy to become lax about security, despite the fact that there are huge underlying risks of having poor cybersecurity hygiene when it comes to your inbox.

Why is Email Security Important?

Email is a common target for cybercriminals because it contains sensitive information such as financial data, personal information, and login credentials. A successful email attack can result in financial loss, data breaches, and damage to your business’ reputation.

By implementing email security best practices, you can protect your business from these threats and ensure secure communication with your clients and employees.

Use Strong Passwords

It’s easy for hackers to crack passwords these days.

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to secure your email is by using strong passwords. A strong password should be at least 12 characters long and include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Avoid using easily guessable information such as your name, birth date, or company name in your password. It’s also important to use a unique password for each of your accounts to prevent a single data breach from compromising all of your accounts.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), adds an extra layer of security to your email account. With 2FA, you’ll need to enter a unique code sent to your phone or generated by an authentication app in addition to your password to access your account.

This ensures that even if someone obtains your password, they won’t be able to access your account without the second authentication factor.

Remembering that strong passwords and 2FA aren’t completely bulletproof either is important. In fact, new malware threats and hacking techniques will allow cybercriminals into protected accounts without prompting them for a password or PIN. One of these methods is called Session Hijacking, and it’s usually done to users who are newly infected with malware.

Be Wary of Suspicious Emails

Phishing emails are a common tactic used by cybercriminals to gain access to sensitive information. These emails often appear to be from a legitimate source and may ask you to click on a link or provide personal information.

To avoid falling victim to a phishing attack, be cautious of emails from unknown senders or those that ask for personal information. If you receive an email from a known sender with suspicious content, contact the sender through a different method to verify the email's authenticity.

Always be suspicious of links in emails, especially emails that you didn’t expect to get. We have a guide on spotting sketchy URLs here.

Use Encryption for Sensitive Information

Encryption is the process of converting information into a code to prevent unauthorized access. When sending sensitive information via email, it’s important to use encryption to protect it from being intercepted by cybercriminals.

If your business doesn’t have an email encryption solution, definitely reach out to us at (774) 213-9701.

Regularly Update Your Software

Software updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities in the system. It’s important to regularly update your email client and operating system to ensure you have the latest security measures.

If Datalyst is handling your IT for you, and you have a service agreement, then we are taking care of this task, as well as many others, that will help keep your network operating smoothly and help keep your business more secure.

Train Your Employees on Email Security

Your employees are the first line of defense against cyberattacks, so training them on email security best practices is important. This includes educating them on identifying suspicious emails, creating strong passwords, and the importance of regularly updating software.

You can also conduct simulated phishing attacks to test your employees’ awareness and provide additional training if needed. This is a simple service that we offer businesses that can go a long way in educating your staff to prevent them from getting your company in hot water.

Best Practices for Secure Email Communication

In addition to the above best practices, you can also take specific measures to ensure secure email communication within your business.

Use a Secure Email Provider

When choosing an email provider for your business, selecting one that offers secure email services is important. Look for providers that offer encryption, spam filtering, and other security features to protect your business’ sensitive information.

Avoid using email services from local ISPs, cell phone carriers, Yahoo, Hotmail, personal Gmail accounts, and others. These simply aren’t professional and usually lack many critical security features that a business should have.

Implement Email Retention Policies

Email retention policies outline how long emails should be kept before being deleted. This not only helps with organization and storage but also ensures that sensitive information is not kept longer than necessary.

Use Email Archiving

Email archiving is the process of storing emails in a separate, secure location for long-term preservation. This can be useful for legal purposes or in the event of a data breach.

Limit Access to Sensitive Information

Not all employees need access to sensitive information, so it’s important to limit access to only those who require it. This reduces the risk of accidentally or intentionally sharing sensitive information with unauthorized individuals.

Regularly Backup Your Data

In the event of a cyberattack or system failure, having backups of your emails can be crucial. Regularly backing up your emails ensures that you can still access important information even if your email system is compromised.

Don’t Store Sensitive Information in Inboxes

Depending on your organization, you or your employees may have to deal with personal or sensitive customer information. You likely have a secure place to store and manage all of this information, such as your CRM, or some other line of business application. However, your customers probably don’t know any better, and might still provide sensitive information over the phone or over email. 

It’s your responsibility to make sure that you aren’t storing this type of information in email inboxes that could potentially be breached or hijacked. It’s a good idea to delete emails that contain sensitive information after that information is processed, and try to educate your clients/vendors/partners/employees not to use email to share sensitive info.

Some industries will have various rules and regulations on this, so be sure to check or reach out to us if you aren’t sure.

Who Is Responsible for Email Security?

Email security is a team effort and should involve collaboration between IT, security, and management teams. IT teams are responsible for implementing and maintaining security measures, while security teams are responsible for monitoring and responding to potential threats.

Management teams should also be involved in setting policies and ensuring that employees are trained on email security best practices.

If you aren’t totally confident in your email security, we highly recommend you reach out to us at (774) 213-9701. 

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Monday, April 22 2024

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