Email is one of the most accepted forms of communication, especially in the corporate world. Woefully, it is most vulnerable to cyberattacks, malware, or phishing attacks. Attackers are constantly finding new ways to hack people’s emails and steal confidential information. Therefore, it should be a top priority to implement best practices to ensure your email security and prevent email-based threats.
Whether you manage a small office or own an entire corporate network, it is crucial to use a stronger set of email security measures to spot signs of an attack before it happens. If you are wondering how to improve your email security, then this blog covers 10 effective best practices that should be followed to improve your general email security and ensure your workforce is ready to fight against evolving email-borne threats.
So, read this article completely to learn how to protect your emails and data from hackers and prevent them from accessing your company’s inboxes.
Why Is the Security of Your Email Account Is So Important?
The primary objective of utilizing email security best practices is to prevent data breaches and leakage. In this way, businesses or clients can safeguard their privacy. Email security helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and valuable resources within an organization.
Email security best practices are crucial for every organization to protect their business from attackers and phishing activities. Therefore, we recommend some useful practices that can be utilized to manage your email security.
Recommended: Best Practices for Strong Email Security
In addition to stealing sensitive information, email is a major weapon for spreading ransomware, an advanced threat that can infect multiple endpoints. Therefore, to keep your and your team’s inboxes safe and secure, the below proactive measures will help counter online threats.
Below is a list of the most effective email security best practices for secure email communication.
- Create Strong Email Passwords
- Use Multifactor Authentication
- Consider Changing Passwords Often
- Avoid Using Same Password for Different Accounts
- Keep Antivirus Programs Up-to-date
- Be Cautious While Opening Attachments
- Be Careful Before Clicking on a Link
- Avoid Public Wi-Fi
- Use Email Security Protocols
- Be Prepare for Phishing Emails
Let’s discuss them all in detail.
Create Strong Email Passwords
One of the most critical email security practices is to create complex and secure passwords. Easier passwords are more likely to be cracked by hackers. Therefore, it is recommended to have a solid and unique password for your email account to prevent attackers from cracking it.
Passphrases is a method that can be used to make longer, easier-to-remember, yet difficult-to-guess passwords to defend against attackers. Additionally, we are recommending some useful tips to make your password stronger.
A Strong Password should:
- Have at least 12 characters.
- Be unique.
- Aim for combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols.
- Do not use names or obvious information like DOBs, family members’ names, etc.
- Contain a random string of letters or uncommon words.
Use Multifactor Authentication
Using Multifactor Authentication (MFA) or Two-Factor Authentication adds an extra layer of security against common email security threats. Because it requires a user to provide more than one authentication factor to access a system. Moreover, adding a second, third, or more factor to the authentication process adds an additional layer of defense against email security issues. Applying 2FA can decrease the chances of account compromise by up to 99.9%.
How Two-Factor Authentication Works:
With 2FA or MFA, whenever you try to login with your password and login ID, a code is sent to your registered mobile number for verification. You may be asked to verify your identity every time you log in to your Gmail or Apple accounts. As a result, your email account is inaccessible without the second piece of information.
Besides providing a username or password, you may also have asked to provide following details:
- A unique token or card number.
- Biometric data, or fingerprints.
- A barcode generated on a mobile device.
- A PIN received via SMS, Email, Voice Call or a OTP.
- A prompt on a mobile phone confirming current user login information.
Consider Changing Passwords Often
Changing your email password regularly or frequently is one of the simplest email security practice. One should avoid to use weaker passwords that are easier to remember and therefore easier for attackers to target weak passwords.
Let’s see the criteria for periodic password change:
- Remember to change your password in every 2-4 months.
- Avoid adding one or two characters to the current password to create a new one.
- Avoid using the password you already had in the past.
New password should follow the standard rules for strong passphrases, i.e., mix of lower and upper cases, numbers & symbols.
Avoid Using Same Password for Different Accounts
Reusing passwords is another common security threat. Attackers can easily access other accounts if one account using the same credentials is compromised. Password reuse is therefore dangerous when the same passwords are used for corporate and personal email accounts.
So, every employee should have unique, strong, and complex passwords for each account. Thus, every email account, tool credentials, or backend login should have a different passphrase to protect your account from danger.
Keep Antivirus Programs Up-to-date
Another effective way to improve email security is by keeping your outdated antivirus software up-to-date. Fortunately, all operating systems are backed by in-built antivirus software. So, enabling automatic scanning and allowing updates to install automatically ensures an easy way to identify any viruses.
Be Cautious While Opening Attachments
Be careful while handling any type of attached file, such as Word documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs. Additionally, extra caution should be taken before opening attachments that have an extension of EXE (Executable Program), JAR (Java Application Program) or MSI (Windows Installer).
Avoid opening such extensions simultaneously, or use good scanning software with an antimalware program before opening the file.
Be Careful Before Clicking on a Link
A simple yet effective email security measure is to train yourself before clicking on a URL. If the link address does not contain the HTTPS extension, there are higher chances that the URL is not legitimate and may lead to a malware download page.
Be careful and always check to ensure that the link will direct you before clicking on any link in an email. You should always hover the mouse pointer over the link contents to ensure that they are the same as what is displayed.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
It is best practice to never access emails from public Wi-Fi. You should always access your emails only on a secured network. If you open your emails from your device on public Wi-Fi, a cybercriminal can easily discover data passing through publicly accessible Wi-Fi, and your sensitive information and login credentials could be exfiltrated.
Therefore, you should try to use mobile internet or internet dongles for out-of-office work.
Use Email Security Protocols
Deploying firewalls can help greatly in securing organizations’ email networks and employees from harmful or malicious emails. Implementing strong email defenses and email security tools can protect your emails from malware and phishing attacks.
Be Prepare for Phishing Emails
Phishing techniques are among the biggest security threats facing email users. Through email spoofing, cyber criminals attempt to trick users into believing they are legitimate senders so they will divulge their account details, initiate fraudulent payments, or visit malicious websites.
However, you can prevent these attacks by combining email safety best practices with employee training. In addition to phishing awareness, employees learn how to recognize phishing emails and how to avoid them through employee training.
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