How do you feel about your email inbox?
Keeping your email inbox in order can be a slippery slope. Subscribe to a few too many websites for news, discounts, or something else and your inbox is unrecognizable before you know it.
As annoying as a cluttered, disorganized inbox can be, the issue lies more with the security risk the situation creates. With so many unknown people and organizations sending you emails, you become a target for hackers, phishing attempts, and much more.
To keep you, your employees, and your business safe, it’s time to implement email security best practices.
5 Email Security Best Practices For Small Businesses
Keep your small business safe by making email security a top priority.
BITS monitors, migrates, and secures your email, network, and much more. Contact us today to get started.
1. Monitor Your Business’ Email Activity With A Watchful Eye
You don’t have to just accept whatever mess your business email has become. In fact, scrutinizing your inbox is very important.
With that being said, it’s important to start the email security process by regularly monitoring your email activity. This will help you to identify and eliminate the root cause of any problems.
The first step is to see how much time you and your employees spend communicating with people outside of your company. Oftentimes, members of the hackersphere spend time and effort gaining the trust of their future victims. Once they believe they’ve gained the trust of someone within your company, that’s when they’ll start sending emails with nefarious links and attachments.
However, if you, or your MSP, regularly monitor your business’s email activity, you’ll see if there’s a recurring conversation between an employee and someone outside your organization. From here, you can address the concern with your employee to ensure they aren’t making themselves or the company vulnerable. This is a great method to minimize your company’s risk by increasing email security.
2. Be Smart About Passwords – Across ALL Accounts
Haven’t heard us talk about password security? Then you either haven’t been paying attention or are new here. If it’s the latter, welcome (join our newsletter here to access free IT tips and resources)!
Leaked passwords are very often the cause of major hacks and data breaches for companies of all sizes. However, not all companies can afford to come back from a serious breach.
So unless you have millions of dollars set aside to address cybercrimes against your company, I would take password security very seriously. It’s best to implement a company-wide password policy.
What this looks like is making it mandatory for every employee (including yourself) to change passwords regularly, typically every 3, 6, or 9 months. Furthermore, the passwords should be unique, void of any personal information, and include upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters.
As an example, a strong password may look like 3ro0Kz!T. However, we would never use a password that looks so similar to the name of our business!
3. Get In The 2FA Groove
2-factor authentication, also known as multi-factor authentication and 2-step authentication, could very well be what keeps your business out of a hacker’s grasp.
For short, these are also known as 2FA and MFA. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the term(s), there’s a good chance you’re already utilizing this security feature. For instance, are there websites that automatically text you a code to input every time you log on? If the answer is yes, congratulations! You, my friend, are a 2FA user!
However, it’s important to turn 2FA on for every website. And if you’re not a fan of codes being sent by text, that’s okay! You can opt to have codes sent by email or use an authenticator app instead.
2FA adds an additional level of security to your online accounts and activity. It acts as fraud and theft prevention. And can save your business money by reducing helpdesk support calls to reset passwords. Moreover, 2FA increases security for both in-office and remote workers.
As an example, have you or a friend had your Instagram account hacked? Once hackers get into your account (usually through a weak password), they immediately change the password and set up 2FA with their own number. Essentially, they lock you out and make it a lot harder to prove that you are the rightful owner. While social media may be one thing, they can also do this with your online financial accounts.
However, keep in mind that your social media, financials, and other accounts all tie back to your email. If your business’s email is not secure, every other part of your business becomes vulnerable.
Need help setting up 2FA and other cyber security features to protect your small business? Contact the experts at Brooks IT Services today to get started.
4. Don’t Become A Phishing Victim
While we have discussed the importance of monitoring your business’s email activity, we will go into more detail about why it’s so important.
Have you heard of phishing attacks? No, this does not require a rod and reel and there are no fish involved.
Instead, hackers use phishing methods to lure their victims to open attachments or click on links that download malware onto their network. This could be devastating for a small business like yours.
But there is good news! You can protect your business, yourself, and your employees by implementing phishing training. At BITS, we regularly work with our clients to train their businesses to identify phishing attempts.
Moreover, we teach how to handle phishing attempts once identified. Then, we’ll go as far as sending fake phishing emails to your staff. This is how we can see who understood the assignment by who reports and deletes those emails. If someone clicks on a bad link and/or doesn’t report the email, they likely need further training.
5. Encrypt Your Email Communications
Consider this: a hacker intercepts your email while it is in transit. Trust me, it happens. Would you rather have said hacker read your communications or just get a garbled mess of code that they can’t decipher?
This is why your small business needs email encryption!
However, there are different types of encryption, including:
- 3DES Encryption
- AES Encryption
- RSA Encryption
Unless you are an IT expert yourself, it’s best to refer to your MSP on choosing the right encryption method for your business. For instance, 3DES is hackable and not ideal for small businesses in need of scalable solutions. AES is common among governments and security organizations. And RSA, despite being widely used, tends to be time-consuming and has reports of not being user-friendly.
Furthermore, once you choose the best encryption method for your business, there are best practices to follow for the best results. These include:
- Backing up data
- Creating a secure password and pin
- Encrypting your WiFi
Just like your defensive software, knowing how to use email encryption is key to your security and success.
Heighten Your Email Security With BITS
The experts at Brooks IT Services can help you choose and enact the best email security tools for your small business. Whether through monitoring, password protocols, or encryption software – we know how to keep your business secure.
We work with small Houston businesses because we understand their needs, challenges, and budgets. That’s why small business owners like you rely on BITS to get the job done without breaking the bank.