Are Your Emails Secure?
Email has become such a key part of our daily personal and work routines – billions of emails are sent every day and this quick method of transmitting data has revolutionised the entire world.
However, despite being a critical player in the world of businesses, email has some deep flaws that need to be understood and addressed if we are to truly stay safe online.
Email trackers, phishing, elaborate scams, unsolicited emails, and even outright hacking are just a few of the dangers that can lurk in our inboxes – the results of which can devastate businesses through financial penalties, reputational damage, and loss of assets. So how can we better protect our emails? Here are some key points to understand.
Email communication and encryption can be complicated. Encryption is the process by which data is masked and made unreadable to anyone but the intended recipient. While most emails are encrypted during transmission, they are also stored in clear text, making them readable by third parties such as email providers (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) which technically still leaves you vulnerable.
To address this, you should work with an Experienced IT Company to devise your own method of encryption that works for you and your business. Too strict and complicated and you may create unnecessary hurdles in your flow, too slack and you may leave yourself vulnerable. A good IT company should be able to devise strong sender controls and encryption levels that avoid unnecessary complexity, but leave you comfortable and confident that your emails are safe.
Data Leaks and Phishing
So much of email’s flaws come down to user error or a lack of awareness. We have all sent an email to the wrong recipient, or endured the embarrassment of copy and pasting an email and forgetting to change the name. While some email services allow you to unsend an email or recall it if you act quickly, should you be too late then there is no way to undo your mistake and sensitive data could be lost.
While this can often be a harmless mistake – if you accidentally send financial records, personal data, or other confidential information then you could be in for serious legal and reputational consequences.
Phishing attacks on the other hand are not human error, but deliberate attacks that are all too easy to fall victim to if you don’t know what to look out for. This is where cybercriminals will trick recipients into clicking links and giving away personal credentials by spoofing their emails to look like they have come from official senders such as HMRC, Facebook, or financial institutions.
An important point to remember is that you should always avoid using personal email accounts at work. The work that you do to protect your corporate systems can be easily undone by opening a personal email account whilst at work. Malicious emails, that might otherwise have been filtered out by your IT team, could be welcomed in and cause havoc.
How to protect your inbox
To guard against the flaws of email there are a few strategies to consider. The first is to limit your email usage when it comes to sensitive data. For example, if you are sending password credentials then you might want to use an encrypted form of chat such as Telegram or your own custom chat service to send the data. This guards against an employee forgetting to delete the email and passwords potentially being exposed.
The next thing to do is to work with your IT company to develop strong encryption tools that guard your emails as best as they can. End-to-end encryption protects any files, information, or messages you send. It does this by encrypting the data before it leaves your device and during transit and showing the data as garbled nonsense to any third parties that may try to intercept it.
Finally, you should consider what plans you have in place should an email lead to a cyber-attack or data breach. Do you have a disaster recovery plan? Do you have backups in place? How quickly can your business come back from a serious incident?
Here at ECL we provide IT Services such as IT Support and Disaster Recovery to help you keep your business secure online. We have years of experience in helping businesses develop business continuity plans and find the most advanced tools to protect them from the internet’s dark underbelly. To find out more about our services, make sure to get in touch with us today.
ECL recognises that every client is different, and every client has a different IT support requirement. Whatever the size of your business, we can offer a support scenario to suit your needs.
Whether your business already uses Cloud services or you’re considering the Cloud as a possible way forward, talk to us first. We can provide anything from fully hosted IT infrastructures on our own ECL Private Cloud, to simple on-line backups. We can also give expert advice on Office 365 and other Cloud platforms.
How would losing access to your IT systems and data for days, or even weeks, affect your business? For many if not most companies this would be a nightmare scenario, with potentially very serious consequences.