Because organizations rely heavily on email to communicate and conduct business, cybercriminals typically target email as an entry point to access networks and breach valuable business data. In fact, 94% of malware is delivered via email, according to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations. After a cyber security breach, organizations can suffer financial, reputational and intangible losses. That’s why it’s important for businesses to invest in email security and follow best practices to ensure their data and operations are protected from cyber security threats. The following are some email security best practices to prevent and reduce the risk of email-related cyber attacks:
- Conduct employee training. Investing in a security awareness training program can help employees navigate email security risks by educating them about potential threats and avoiding situations that could put data and networks at risk.
- Improve password management. Many people recycle passwords, making it easier for cybercriminals to compromise data across multiple accounts. Employees should use a unique password that contains a combination of upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers, and change their passwords regularly.
- Enable multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication strengthens email security by adding an extra layer of protection. When users log into their email account, they must complete an additional step, such as entering a unique code sent via SMS to their smartphone, to gain access.
- Be aware of phishing emails. Cybercriminals often pose as legitimate senders to steal sensitive information, gain access to operational systems, or initiate fraudulent payments. Phishing emails often use language that suggests a sense of urgency and pressure users to complete an action quickly.
- Encrypt email, communications and attachments. Encryption can ensure that emails and their attachments are only read and received by the intended person. It can also help prevent malicious email attacks by ensuring cybercriminals don̵7;t intercept sensitive email data.
- Avoid public Wi-Fi. One of the best ways to keep email information safe is to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi. Additionally, investing in a virtual private network, better known as a VPN, can secure an encrypted connection between devices and the internet.
- Access email only on company-approved devices. Devices that don’t have the right email security tools and measures in place can be vulnerable to cybercriminals. Using company-approved devices for all work-related communications can help ensure that emails remain secure.
- Use endpoint protection solutions. Endpoint protection solutions look for important information contained in emails that appear out of the ordinary, such as an abnormal address, misspelled words or suspicious links, and then filter them out before they can be received and opened.
- Sign out of email accounts. Leaving email open on any device accessible to others can lead to security issues.
- Back up data regularly. Although the implementation of sound email security practices reduces the risk of loss, vulnerabilities still exist. Therefore, one of the most important security measures to minimize the potential damage and devastation of a ransomware attack is to back up critical files regularly. Copies should be kept in multiple locations, including on physical hardware and in the cloud.
We can help.
When workplace cyber security is treated as a simple check-the-box exercise, costly mistakes can occur. Teaching employees to value and take responsibility for their actions can help organizations reduce their chances of becoming victims of a cyber attack. Implementing a robust email security system and using employee best practices can help stop email-borne threats, prevent cybersecurity risks, and reduce the burden on organizations’ security teams.
If you would like additional information and resources, we are here to help you analyze your needs and make the right coverage decisions to protect your business from unnecessary risk. You can download a free copy of our eBook, or if you’re ready make Cyber Liability Insurance part of your insurance portfolio, Request a quote or download and get started with our Cyber & Data Breach Insurance Application then we’ll get started for you.