Despite the introduction of instant messaging, email has maintained its top spot as the go-to for business communication. In fact, more than 149,000 emails are sent each minute. As a business owner, chances are you use email to send and receive confidential and sensitive information. With the growing threat of hackers and data leaks, it’s important that your business properly protects its emails. Leaving your email vulnerable to hackers can result in data loss, financial hardship, and even a damaged reputation. Keep reading for 6 steps to keep your business email protected.
- Use Email Filtering
Email filtering parses email messages and filters them into different folders, depending on the criteria that is set. Email filtering can be used to keep unwanted messages out of your employees’ inboxes. Filtering can help protect against spam, virus-ridden messages, as well as those that contain inappropriate content. By filtering email before it hits your employee’s inbox, there’s a much lower risk of a malicious message ever being viewed.
When using email filtering, be sure to set up a quarantine location where spam messages can be stored, reviewed, and retrieved if needed. If a message isn’t removed from quarantine, the filtering system should be set to automatically delete them after a set amount of time.
- Implement Multi-Factor Authentication
To further boost your business’ email security, consider implementing multi-factor authentication. This is used by most of today’s private email service providers, including Gmail and Microsoft. With multi-factor authentication, users not only have to provide a username and password to log in, they must also provide some other type of information. Some companies require users to answer security questions while others use a physical device, such as a security token, which creates a one-time PIN that is used during the login session. You can even go as far as to using biometric data, such as a fingerprint.
- Enforce Strong Passwords
When it comes to any type of IT security, the importance of complex passwords cannot be overstressed. One of the easiest ways for a hacker to gain unauthorized access to your business email is to guess a user’s login credentials. By enforcing the use of complex passwords, hackers are less likely to be able to get into your business inboxes. Be sure to use secure password requirements including:
- The use of uppercase and lowercase letters
- A combination of special characters and numbers
- A minimum length of 10 characters
- Password reset after 6 months
- Inability to reuse passwords
By requiring the use of strong passwords, your email server is much less vulnerable to brute force attacks. Strong passwords can take hundreds of years to guess, which puts you at a security advantage.
- Encrypt Server Connections
Sending an email without encrypting it leaves it vulnerable to be intercepted by a hacker. When setting up business email servers and software, be sure that proper encryption capabilities are used. This includes creating a secure connection between servers by implementing Transport Layer Security (TLS).
You can even take things a step further by encrypting email messages. But, this means that your external clients will need the right software to decrypt the messages. At the very least, be sure your email server connections are secure.
- Train Your Employees
Email security is only as secure as your employees make it. When it comes to protecting email, one step many companies forget about is employee training. While this isn’t one of those exiting expenses, be sure that you have the funds available to create email security training. This should be offered at least once a year to keep the information fresh.
Important topics to cover include identifying spam emails, knowing the signs of a phishing email, and knowing how to verify an email’s sender. It may also be helpful to teach your employees about how to minimize the damage that an email-based attack can cause. At the end of the day, educating your staff is one of the best ways to keep your business email and network safe.
- Perform Routine Backups
Protecting your email goes further than safeguarding it from hackers. You also want to protect your emails in the event of a disruption in service or even a natural disaster. To ensure important business emails aren’t lost, be sure to implement a daily backup and archival process for your email server. This way emails can be retrieved in the event of an equipment failure or physical damage. Accidents and disasters often happen without warning so it’s best to be prepared for the worst possible scenario.
Don’t leave your business vulnerable to hackers. With these 6 steps, you’ll have peace of mind that your confidential business information is safe and secure. Did you find this article helpful? Leave us a comment in the section below.