Email security for companies is critical, but what exactly does it entail? Email security is the collective measures that an organization uses to secure access to an email system, and the contents of email accounts. These measures allow an organization to safeguard and restrict access to email accounts. An email service provider ensures email security implementation by providing security and protection from hackers to its subscribers.
Email security is a broad topic, and it involves several ways of protection from hackers and malware. Company data is especially prone to hacking, ransomware, phishing, and other cyber-attacks. Hackers are always looking for ways to make money. Company data is sensitive and can cost a company a lot of money in damages if clients were to sue for data leakage. To avoid this, there are a few tips every organization should follow to secure its email data.
Article updated Jan.12 2021
TLS is short for Transport Layer Security. This secures your internet connection to a site by encrypting it and verifying that the server you connect to is secure. TLS secures your email pathway to the email server by encrypting it. Always ensure your emails are encrypted when you use external emails such as Apple Mail or Outlook.
The biggest security threat to corporates is emails from outside the company and enter into employee computers. The best way to minimize malicious email threats is to install an email security gateway. All mail passes through your security gateway for verification. This can be a software that runs in the background of the email server. It can also be a gateway appliance, a completely separate server or part of the email software.
Functions of an email gateway
An email gateway serves several functions:
- Attachment scanner: A good gateway connects to a threat detector that accesses all the malicious attachments as soon as they are detected, and blocked before they can be delivered to the system.
- Spam filtering: Malicious emails are sent in bulk, and an updated spam system filters these emails before they can be delivered.
- Link scanner: A link scanner scans all links in emails that are delivered to the gateway and checks if they are malicious.
- Blacklisting: This blocks all mail from malicious domains, addresses, or countries that are known to be malware sources.
- Protection from data loss: To ensure emails that leave the organization do not contain sensitive data that should not be emailed, some email gateways scan all emails. The email contents may be encrypted for security purposes.
Employee security training
The most effective way to guard against cyber-attacks is by training the employees. Some of the simplest rules taught are:
- Do not click on any email links or download attachments from an unknown source.
- Do not follow links in emails that purport to be from financial institutions.
- If an employee receives an email with instructions to transfer money, they must always run it by a senior manager for clarification.
- Do not connect to the company email from a public Wi-Fi if you do not have a VPN to secure the link.
- Some organizations send out random and simulated emails to employees to help them learn how to spot phishing emails.
Install a VPN
Installing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) ensures that you establish a secure connection to the internet. VPNs transfer encrypted data securely over a public or shared network. Unless you have the decryption keys, data sent over a VPN is unreadable, which ensures data reaches its endpoint securely.
A VPN connection serves as an end-to-end connection between the employee’s computer and the company server. Employees are increasingly opting to work from home and VPNs allow the employee to connect to the company server securely.
Prepare a Ransomware Playbook
Finally, the risk always remains that some malicious bit of code finds its way onto your email server, your company computers, or even your website. One grave possibility is discovering it’s ransomware. Ransomware is hitting companies of all sizes, sometimes with disastrous results.
For the risk alone, your organization needs to prepare what-ifs scenarios on how you will deal with such a situation. AdeliaRisk.com prepared a complete guide to help you build your own Ransomware Playbook.
Company data is precious and must be treated as such. Doing otherwise, and being careless with company data is a recipe for lawsuits which can ruin a company. Since most malicious emails come from outside sources, every organization must ensure they put proper measures in place to safeguard data. Hackers keep updating their hacking skills, and it behooves every organization to be extra vigilant and train employees as well as put stringent security measures in place.