With the worldwide shift to remote work and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), cyberattacks are on the rise, with 43% of them targeting small businesses.
As a small business owner, it’s vital to understand email security for small businesses to ensure email protection from threats like phishing or social engineering.
Without strong business email security, your business is constantly at risk of losing money, company data, and reputation.
In this blog, we’ll examine some of the biggest threats to email security, and what you can do to prevent them from affecting your business.
Phishing Emails: The Greatest Risk to Your Business
One of the most common methods used by cyber attackers is phishing.
This is a type of cyber attack where a person receives an email asking them to click on a link to confirm their account information or enter their credentials.
These false emails often appear to be sent by a legitimate person you know or a commonly used site like Amazon. Once you open the email and click on a link or attached file within it, malicious software like malware or ransomware may begin to infect your device.
Once a cybercriminal gains access to your computer, they can easily steal your financial information and critical business data.
You can prevent phishing attacks by implementing the following these helpful small business email security tips.
Email Security for Small Business: 4 Tips to Implement
1. Use Strong Passwords
Having strong passwords in place is a must.
Weak passwords can easily be cracked by cyber attackers, leaving you vulnerable to attacks. Hackers use various techniques to get past weak and easy-to-guess passwords, from phishing to impersonation and brute force attacks.
Compromised passwords can result in large-scale data breaches, financial losses, and blackmail. Your business may not survive that kind of scenario.
To prevent this from happening, you should always have a strong and unique password for your email client, bank account, social media, SaaS subscription services, and any other web-based account.
Strong passwords are:
- Used for a single account
- At least 12 characters long
- Contain numbers and special characters
- Contain both uppercase and lowercase characters
Additionally, it is best practice to change your passwords every few months.
That said, passwords alone are no longer sufficient to ensure full business email protection against web based threats.
2. Use Two-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication, or 2FA, goes a step beyond passwords by requiring a second method of authentication before allowing access to a person’s account.
Chances are you may already be using 2FA on an encrypted email service like Gmail. This added layer of protection helps better secure email for small businesses.
Simply put, you log into the website or service you wish to access with your username and password. An authentication server checks the validity of the credentials, then sends an automatically generated and unique code to your phone number or an authentication app.
It’s important to enter the code as soon as you receive it, as it will expire after a certain amount of time elapses. You enter the code to confirm your identity and access your account.
There are variations of this two-step verification process like sending an email to another email address. Another option is multi-factor authentication, or MFA, which, as the name suggests, uses multiple factors to authenticate users when they log in.
Overall, 2FA makes it much harder for hackers to access your personal information and maintains encrypted email for your small business.
3. Use an Email Spam Filter
It’s estimated that nearly 85% of all emails received are spam.
Some will simply clog your inbox with useless information and advertisements, while others are malicious emails. Knowing this, using a spam filter is a must for the cyber security of your small business.
Spam filters are programs that use machine learning to detect unsolicited and unwanted emails for potentially dangerous content. They use a large number of algorithms to analyze every incoming email and decide whether to let it pass or flag it. Emails that are flagged won’t reach your inbox.
To assess an email, a spam filter will check things like the sender’s email domain, email server, IP address, subject line, email contents, frequency of emails sent, and more.
Using an encrypted email service with a spam filter will keep your and your employees’ email accounts safe from most forms of junk email. There are many types of spam filtering software available. One particularly good example is Hornetsecurity.
Hornetsecurity provides cloud security but specializes in email security. Their services offer protection for all end-devices in an enterprise and ensure that email configurations meet the compliance standards in your industry.
Hornetsecurity covers a wide range of email security needs, including:
- Office365 protection
- Backup and Recovery
- Threat Protection
- Spam and Malware Protection
- Email Encryption
- Signature and Disclaimer
- Email Archiving
- And more
4. Learn to Recognize and Deal with Suspicious Emails
Below are key business email security guidelines you should always keep in mind when you read your emails. Following these measures will help you identify suspicious emails and avoid falling into the traps laid by cybercriminals.
- Avoid opening emails from someone you don’t know unless you confirm their identity
- Never reply to suspicious-looking emails or click on anything inside them, whether it’s a link or an attached file
- Never send and receive sensitive information, like credit card information, by email
- If you receive an email from an address with a long string of random characters, it’s a phishing attempt and should be moved to your spam folder immediately
- Be particularly wary of emails that appear to come from Google, Amazon AWS, PayPal, and other trusted platforms. When possible, report these false emails to the relevant organization
Stay Protected With Best Practices for Small Business Email Security
Your Trusted Partner for Small Business Email Security
Educating yourself and your employees on email threats and following the security tips discussed in this article will go a long way to implementing small business email security strategies to defend against the latest cyber threats.
If you need help with securing your email, Tenecom is ready to assist you. We have been providing trustworthy managed IT and email security services in Canada and beyond for over 20 years.
Our security experts can design and execute robust email security solutions that will keep your business safe from increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.
Take the first step towards improving your small business email security by contacting us today for more information and scheduling a consultation.