Emails are a fundamental communication tool in every modern business. Whether it is employees exchanging critical information or interacting with customers, emails are critical to normal business operations. Unfortunately, their popularity also makes them an easy target for malicious actors looking to infiltrate company systems. Email security is vital for any business.
Cybersecurity has gained momentum over the past decade thanks to the digital transformation most companies have undergone. However, email security has lagged. While networks are protected by fancy abbreviations like EDR, IAM, and so on, email security is still the domain of passwords and ineffective security training.
Given this state of affairs, it is no wonder that phishing and other archaic infiltration techniques continue to work with emails. Here are 3 ways businesses can bring email security into the modern world and secure themselves.
Examine Next-Generation Security Techniques
Passwords are a great idea on the surface but closer examination will reveal significant flaws. For starters, most people use the same password across different applications. In such situations, a single breach will result in a cascade of breaches.
Second, most users find it hard to develop strong passwords. In many cases the passwords become too complex, leading to users forgetting them and changing them. No amount of special characters or capital letters fixes this problem.
Removing the need for passwords entirely is a bold step, but needs infrastructure. For starters, you must help employees transition to using authenticator apps upon logging in. These apps generate a one-time code that users enter on their login screens. These apps are usually installed on a physical device, separate from the login device, increasing security.
The challenge here is ensuring employees use these apps and delivering training to ensure they use the codes appropriately. In some cases, infrastructure might fail, compounding the challenge. For instance, if a user’s secondary device (like a phone) fails, they’ll be locked out of their account, needing intervention.
Despite these hurdles, this option is a good route to pursue, and businesses must prepare to enforce it down the road.
Review Spam Filters
One of the best ways to prevent security breaches is to nip problematic emails in the bud. Preventing spam is the best way of reducing the number of harmful emails that enter your company’s inboxes. While email clients have strong anti-spam filters, they don’t prevent those emails from entering your network.
For example, an email might sit in an employee’s spam folder where they could still click it accidentally. External tools can prevent spam from entering your inbox by imposing some creative filters. For instance, some tools ask senders to verify if they know the receiver by asking a question. If the sender does not know the receiver, the tool forces them to either donate a small amount to charity or withdraw their email.
The result is a small volume of emails entering an inbox, and only from known or valid sources. Spam emails tend to be sent en masse, making it unlikely for their senders to execute additional steps to enter one particular inbox.
Some organizations might find such tools excessive or impractical. In such cases, it’s best to install invisible tools that monitor inbox activity in the background. These tools will read emails entering inboxes and route them to spam folders or prevent them from entering a network. However, you could lose genuine emails with this method since spam filters are not perfect.
Despite this challenge, implementing and reviewing your spam filters is a good way to ensure you minimize the threat of malware in your inbox.
Use Takeover Protection Tools
Malware is more sophisticated now than ever before, and traditional security tools are inadequate. While spam filters and password managers help, they can be bypassed by sophisticated attackers using AI algorithms. In such cases, attackers take over email inboxes and demand ransom to return the account.
Fighting AI with equally sophisticated tools is the best solution to this problem. Account takeover prevention tools constantly monitor account activity and prevent suspicious activity before it blooms into serious consequence
- These tools also prevent malicious insider attacks, a notoriously difficult form of breach to stop.
Insider attacks involve disgruntled employees leaking sensitive data or compromising passwords to critical systems. While other cybersecurity systems monitor such activity, traces of these attacks begin in emails since they’re used to communicate information.
By observing past patterns of messages and comparing them to current messaging patterns, takeover prevention software can raise issues immediately, giving you ample time to take swift action. While no tool will eliminate threats fully, the combination of takeover prevention tools and others reduces malware threats considerably.
Email Security is Paramount
Email security is often overlooked in favor of more sophisticated cybersecurity tools. However, emails are a gateway to your business, and securing them is essential. Follow the tips in this article to ensure your emails are secure and, by extension, your business.