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Email is still the main source of communication for enterprises and most businesses. However, employees go about their daily routine sending, receiving, and opening emails and attachments with little to no thought of the potential risk that unsecured emails can do to the enterprise.
Email security is a critical risk for many businesses. In fact, over 91 percent of all successful attacks on enterprise networks are a result of phishing attacks and targeting an organization’s users via email, which can cause serious harm to the company and the consequences can be severe.
As we have seen with severe breaches in the past, email security cannot be taken lightly. That is why it is important to ensure that your network security – especially email security – can protect against modern cyber threats. The following are a few things you can implement to strengthen and improve your security.
With email encryption, enterprises can protect email communication with the highest level of security it deserves. SMTP-based email typically travels over the Internet without encryption, so when you are sending an email it is transmitted in plain text across other local networks and the Internet. Because email does not use hash verification, someone other than the sender can tamper with it and sender information is easily spoofed. This can give hackers the opportunity to intercept and read the message while it is en route to the recipient. With email encryption, unauthorized users on the network are unable to intercept and read your email communication.
When email encryption is implemented, a user who utilizes encryption can verify the following:
Message Integrity: The email is tamper proof.
Sender Verification: The receiver can verify the sender is legitimate.
Receiver Verification: The sender is confident the message is viewable only by the intended recipient.
Message Control: The sender has control of the email and can retract a message if needed.
Message Audit Trail: The sender can determine who read the email and at what time
Dedicated Security Staff
Hackers don’t work a 9-5 job and the opportunity for a malicious intrusion can happen at any time. It is important to have either a third-party vendor or full-time experts available for 24/7/365 support with proactive and reactive security monitoring that can monitor, react, and respond in a timely manner to eliminate any malicious threats from entering your network.
When evaluating a managed service vs. in-house staff, one thing to consider is ability to meet compliance standards.
External Compliance Mandates
When you’re evaluating your IT infrastructure, it is important to consider the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), which mandates that organizations working with credit card transactions cannot send credit card information unencrypted via public networks.
Email is not technically part of the cardholder data environment (CDE) – the part that processes credit cards – so sending card data over unencrypted email is a big security risk to be avoided. Although, unencrypted emails with invoices, receipts, and other sensitive data can make it easier for hackers to target your customers. Secure business email with encryption and access control helps keep this sensitive data safe.
Remove SPAM and Phishing Emails
One of the best ways to cut down on the amount of SPAM emails and Phishing emails is to use Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM), an authentication method for email, which allows an email recipient to verify the message came from the domain it claims to be from and that the message has not been tampered with.
Another tool to use is the Sender Policy Framework (SPF), which allows email relays and MTAs to validate which systems are allowed to send emails from a particular domain. SPF prevents forged sender addresses from unauthorized sending systems.
Employee errors are one of the main causes of data breach incidents in cyber attacks. Lack of knowledge, using personal devices, insider and outsider threats, social engineering, and phishing all heavily rely on people and can be avoided when employees are aware of the security risks involved with email communications.
Making sure employees are educated and alert to these methods is essential:
Best practices for employees:
Ensure that your employees know what email scams entail, what to look out for, processes to take, and how to properly react if an instance occurs.
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