Many malware applications and cyberthreats come through email. Due to the ubiquitous nature of email, every entry point can be a security risk for your company if not properly protected. 

Overall, cybercrime is rising, and hackers’ work is becoming more sophisticated, tricking even the most competent employees into relaying private information. It’s no longer sufficient to do the minimum when it comes to cybersecurity. Companies have to refocus email policies and training to deal with the dangers of social engineering-based cyberattacks.

Here are five key guidelines to help companies safeguard their data and operations against outside attackers.

Use Strong Passwords

Password security is the primary component of email and computer security at work. It’s essential to use passwords that hackers can’t easily guess and accompany them with Multi-Factor Authentication, as we’ll discuss later. Also, make sure to change passwords regularly.

New security research has shown that you don’t have to include several special characters, as long as the password is lengthy enough to resist malicious cracking tactics. You can: 

  • use a set of key phrases and words
  • use numbers sparingly
  • combine two or more ideas for password strength

Multi-Factor Authentication

While strong passwords are key to email security, passwords alone are no longer enough to keep out unwanted users. In addition to strong passwords, businesses should require Multi-Factor Authentication on all their business-related accounts and devices.

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) includes using your password as well as another biometric or physical authentication source—such as a fingerprint, face ID, code sent to your phone, or physical card—to log in to your accounts and devices. MFA has been shown to thwart over 99% of cyber attacks if used properly. 

Making Multi-Factor Authentication part of your infrastructure is essential for every business and employee, especially for accounts or applications housing sensitive data. 

Scan Attachments

Malware often comes in the attachments of an email. It can look like an innocent:

  • PDF
  • text document
  • image
  • video file

But cyberthreats can lurk inside. Employees should scan attachments to sort out this traffic at the perimeter, sealing out suspicious activity. A good rule of thumb is that if you aren’t positive you know who the sender of the email is or what the attachment contains, don’t open it.

Log Out When You’re Done

Some of the worst cyber threats come from people leaving their password-protected email accounts open and leaving the system more vulnerable to remote threat incidents.

It’s a good idea to get in the practice of logging out from personalized accounts, whether you’re working from home, the office, a cafe, or your car. Public wifi networks can also pose problems, so make sure your business has secure Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies if your employees are permitted to work outside of the office. 

Train on Phishing

Make sure that your personnel understands the nature of social engineering cyber attacks.

Everyone should be looking closely at the content of an email. Notice whether several words are misspelled, brand information doesn’t look quite right, or the sender’s email address seems suspicious.

Employees should also evaluate content for news that sounds too good to be true or a company asking you to send personal information through email. Reputable companies will never ask you to send sensitive information via email. Often left by the wayside, employee cybersecurity training is crucial to keep employees updated on the latest tactics and techniques for email security. 

Seek Expert Advice

Working with cybersecurity experts like Innovative Network Solutions can elevate your email security to the next level. We help enforce best practices and security measures to ensure your data is as safe as possible. As a SOC2 certified managed service provider, we know how to help you safeguard your systems for the future.