What Every Business Needs To Know About Email Security

28th June 2023

With email being the most commonly leveraged channel of communication, email security is essential to protect businesses from data breaches, loss, and compromise.

Nowadays, email and work go hand in hand. Most businesses use email daily to communicate internally between colleagues, as well as externally with customers, suppliers, and shareholders.

According to recent data for 2023, the average number of emails sent and received worldwide per day is 347.3 billion. This has increased by 4.3% compared to the previous year.

So, it is more important than ever that your business is protected against email-based cyber attacks. Email security is the practice of protecting email accounts and communications from an attack. Without it, your business and data are at risk.

Here’s what every business needs to know about email security.

What is email security?

Email security is vital to preserving the confidentiality and integrity of your business communications. It protects email accounts and secures the content of emails, through practices that prevent email-based cyber attacks.

Hackers target email accounts to gain unauthorised access to a network, spread malware, viruses, and ransomware, steal sensitive data, and manipulate users into sharing confidential information.

Isn’t email inherently secure?

Your email account is only as secure as the protection your email provider offers, which in most cases is not a lot.

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo do not even provide end-to-end message encryption. This means that emails sent from a Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo account can just fly through virtual space, making it possible to be read by anyone with access.

Email providers such as Google scan every single email sent or received by their email account holders for keywords so that it can then show you targeted ads later on.

Common email-based cyber attacks

Although seeing ads for holidays because you mentioned to someone in an email about needing a vacation may feel like a breach of privacy, it is far from the worst consequence of an unsecured email account.

Hackers and other cyber criminals have many ways of gaining unauthorised access and getting hold of business information via email. Discover three of the most common methods below.

Spam

Every email user is likely to be familiar with spam emails. They are unsolicited and unwanted junk emails sent out in bulk and may contain malicious content.

Most email accounts have a spam or junk folder to which suspicious emails are sent, rather than into your main inbox. However, even if you never open your spam or junk folder, this does not mean you are protected.

If spam is left to clog up inboxes, it can steal IP address space, so you must know how to identify spam emails and regularly clear your spam or junk folder.

Sometimes spam emails can go undetected and make their way into your inbox, which can lead to people clicking on links and becoming a victim of phishing.

Phishing

Phishing is when attackers trick or convince victims into divulging sensitive information. This can be through directing them to fake websites that collect data, clicking a link that downloads malware, or pressuring them into sharing information.

Although phishing can be carried out via text message, social media, or phone, it is most commonly used to describe email-based attacks.

Phishing emails can compromise organisations of any size or type, installing malware, sabotaging systems, and stealing intellectual property and money.

Learn more about phishing and how to protect your business against attacks in our business guide to phishing.

How to protect your business

To protect your business, employees must be trained to identify potential attacks and to know what to do if they receive spam or phishing attempts.

However, even if they are aware of the risks and signs of a malicious attack, it does not mean they will spot them every time. We are only human.

To prevent massive security breaches and financial losses, you need to have a failsafe in place. Bespoke IT Services Providers, like ECL, can help you to put systems in place to shield your business and assets, and avoid potential downtime, reputational damage, and significant costs.

If you want to protect your business against the threats mentioned and learn more about the latest cybersecurity advancements, get in touch with our team of IT experts today.

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