Organizations around the world rely on email to invoice customers, speak to suppliers, and collaborate internally. Email is for many businesses, their most important communication tool.
However, email communications are not secure. Attackers can spoof domains to make it appear that their emails are from trusted contacts, they can distribute malware and spam via email channels, and they can use social engineering to trick users to make payments or log into fake accounts.
Malware attacks are on the rise, with ransomware, malware and viruses affecting thousands of businesses daily. Researchers estimate that malware alone grew by 300% in 2019, with further increases in malware attackers estimated into 2020. It’s getting harder and harder for businesses to keep ahead of malware, with attackers pouring time and resource into developing advanced software that can bypass security technologies.
Read: Our Guide to the Top 11 Email Security Solutions
Having comprehensive email
security in place can help businesses to protect themselves against malware, including
ransomware and crypto malware. More than 90% of malware threats begin with an
email. Having strong email security in place means you can keep your business
data protected from attackers by blocking incoming email threats.
So, what are the best security practices businesses should follow to improve their email security?
Implement Strong Email Defences
The first and most crucial practices businesses should follow is to implement strong email protection. Having strong email security in place such as a Secure Email Gateway allows organizations to stop malware threats, as well as phishing emails, from reaching employee inboxes. These services are deployed as cloud services, on-premise or a hybrid model. They in front of your email network, and filter emails to remove spam, graymail and any other types of harmful email.
The benefit of having strong email security in place is that organizations can be sure that their users are safe from overtly malicious email threats. Email gateways will stop email threats from being delivered, including phishing attacks that aim to trick users into making payments or giving up account details. They also provide businesses with greater visibility into email threats, with full reporting and email account management for all their users. Businesses of all sizes should implement an email gateway, to protect their users and enhance their protection against email threats.
Be Aware of Phishing and How You Can Stop It
The biggest threat to businesses
coming from email is phishing attacks. Phishing emails target your users with
email fraud, impersonation attempts and social engineering, to try and trick them
into clicking on malicious links, give up account details or make fraudulent payments.
Read: How can you stop phishing attacks?
There are a number of steps that
businesses can take to protect themselves against phishing attacks.
Implementing a Secure Email Gateway can help, as using attachment sandboxing
and URL threat defence technologies to scan emails for malicious links and
attachments and stop them from being delivered.
There are also softer steps to stopping phishing attacks. Ensure that everyone in the organization is trained to know what phishing looks like and how to stop it with Security Awareness Training. Security Awareness Training platforms provide users with engaging training materials to help users know more about email threats. Security awareness training vendors also often provide phishing simulation. This allows admins to create simulated phishing emails to send to their users, to see if they can spot malicious emails, and if not, provide the training that they need.
Another important tool that admins can utilize in the fight against phishing attacks is Post-Delivery Protection. These solutions sit within the email inbox, between users and the gateway. They use machine learning algorithms to detect phishing attacks and remove them automatically. They also provide warning banner within email to alert users when an email doesn’t look right and allow users to report emails if they suspect them to be a threat.
Better Password Management
Credential theft is a huge problem for organizations. Phishing attacks often target users passwords, because in our SaaS way of working, accounts can hold company data, customer data and financial information which are very valuable for malicious actors. Often employees use the same passwords for multiple accounts, with businesses having no reliable way to manage passwords or ensure employees are changing passwords regularly.
Phishing emails will often ask
users to reset passwords, or log in to a fraudulent account website in order to
scrape credential information. It can often be very difficult for user to know when
an email is fraudulent, even if an organization has email protection and regular
security training in place.
This means one of the most important email security practices is implementing strong password management policies. Esure that all your users are using strong passwords, that are unique for each account. This limits the danger of one phishing account leading to multiple accounts being compromised. To help manage passwords better, organizations can implement Business Password Management solutions. These platforms allow employees to implement secure passwords easily, and give admins visibility over who is using weak passwords.
Passwords should be:
mixture of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
contain any names, or any easily identifiable information
for each account
This will help to stop account
compromise, even if account credentials are compromised in a phishing attack.
Encrypting email is an important
email security practice to protect your users and company data. It’s important
for all sizes of business to be encrypting their emails, even very small businesses,
and it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are a number of cost-effective and
easy to use encryption services available that secure emails without making it difficult
for people to send or receive important emails.
The main purpose of encrypting
emails is to make sure that emails are only ever received by their intended
recipient, with all data they contain protected. They normally work by users
needing to log in to view encrypted emails. This means email senders have more control
over email, including being able to revoke access to email sent to the wrong people, see when emails have been opened and
stop emails from being sent.
This is important for businesses
because there has been a growth in malware attacks which aim to compromise
emails, and if businesses use encryption, attackers will not be able to read
sensitive business emails. It also helps to help protect email data sent over
the cloud, stopping data from being intercepted.
Read: Verified user reviews of the top encryption platforms
Anti-Virus and Endpoint Protection:
One practice for strong email
security is to implement endpoint anti-virus protection across all your work
devices. This is an important step in combatting ransomware and malware, as it
will stop any malware or ransomware delivered via email from infecting your
Malware can be delivered via email
in the form on infected attachments and links to websites containing malicious
downloads. Anti-Virus solutions scan files and websites to make sure they are not
malicious, and help users to remove malware that is found on their systems.
Enterprise endpoint protection solutions also provide management interface which allows IT departments to monitor all devices within a business network. They can use this to run system scans and monitor access and usage. This should be simple to use and centralized, allowing admins to easily generate reports, view activity and run scans. This helps to track people using their own devices for work and working from home.
If you need help evaluating the next steps to take to improve your email security, get in touch with our support experts. We work with companies all over the world to solve challenges like phishing attacks, viruses and malware, and can provide customized pricing of selected email security products.