What is Email Security?
Email security refers to the various procedures and techniques for protecting email accounts, content, and communication against loss, compromise, and unauthorized access. Cyberattackers often use email to spread malware, spam, and to conduct phishing attacks by using deceptive messages that persuade users to open attachments laden with malware, to click on links that install malware, or to divulge sensitive information. Through email, cyberattacker can also gain entry into an enterprise network where they can gain a foothold, obtain sensitive enterprise information, and cause widespread damage. Email services have different levels of email security, so it is important to know what to look for in order to select the most robust services and features for your organization. The following email security best practices can help your organization prevent cyberattackers from carrying out cyberattacks through email:
Use a secure email gateway. A secure email gateway offers a framework of technologies that protect against email threats. It is essentially a firewall for your email, scanning both inbound and outbound email for signs of malicious content. Four security features that you should expect from a secure email gateway are: virus and malware blocking, spam filtering, content filtering, and email archiving. Secure email gateways can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.
Use an email encryption solution. Email encryption services convert email messages into secret codes that prevent unauthorized access and better privacy. Email encryption uses public-key cryptology when users use a public key to code messages. Private keys digitally encrypt and sign messages before sending them. Email encryption solutions reduce risks associated with data loss, policy violations, and regulatory violations. Some relevant compliance regulations include GDPR, HIPAA, or SOX, and a relevant security standard is PCI-DSS.
Train users on email safety:
Be careful about the information that you share online and on social media. Public details that you share about your personal life such as pet names, schools that you attended, names of family members, and birthdates can all be used to guess your passwords or to answer your security questions. Apply privacy settings to your social media accounts so that they are not publicly available.
Do not click on request via text or email to verify account information. In order to verify if you are receiving a legitimate request, contact the organization using contact information that you have already or that you find online—do not use links or phone numbers provided in the message as they could be redirecting you.
Carefully examine email addresses and URLs. Cyberattackers rely on you missing small details in order to trick you into clicking on malicious links.
Download carefully. Never open an email attachment from someone that you don’t know, or attachments that you were not expecting, and be wary of forwarded attachments.
Set up two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This makes it more difficult for cyberattackers to breach your accounts.
Verify financial transaction details. Ensure that requests for payment are legitimate by contacting the individual personally. Verify any changes in account numbers or payment procedures.
Take it slow. Any request for you to act quickly should be regarded with suspicion.