Businesses are driven by email. It remains the most common form of business communication, with billions of inquiries, requests, and reach outs arriving in inboxes worldwide each day. As such, it remains an essential tool for any organization. Unfortunately, it is also a weak spot in any company’s digital security.
A huge range of email security threats exist. These include phishing, spam, malware, and spoofing. Then there are the risks of human error from staff and employees, including lost or stolen devices, weak passwords, and even insider threats. So, it is imperative that businesses of all shapes and sizes can rely on the security of their email services.
Below are six key features secure email services should offer businesses.
- Encryption – Encryption is the process by which data contained within emails is kept secure during transit and only allowed to be viewed by the intended recipient. Currently, there are two main methods of email encryption. One is called Transport Layer Security (TLS), which is the main encryption tool used by major email providers. The other type of email encryption is end-to-end and offers a more comprehensive form of security for businesses dealing with sensitive personal or financial information. Check that your provider offers at least one form of encryption and ensure you are utilizing these services.
- Two-Factor Authentication – Log in details and passwords are a weak link in the security chain and are frequently stolen. To protect against this, two-factor authentication requires both a password and another form of identification, such as an SMS code received on a phone, to gain access to accounts. It’s a simple step that can boost email security.
- Logs – If your email provider is storing logs of IP addresses or communications, this information is susceptible to attack. The most secure email services do not keep any such information, so nothing can be traced back to you.
- Metadata Handling – Similar to logs, metadata can contain information about email recipients, networks, or browser history. This might seem harmless but can be the first step for any cyberattacker looking to target your business. Secure email services should strip out metadata and aim to collect as little information about clients as possible to boost security.
- Server Location – Where your server is located can impact what information is being stored about you or accessed by third parties. Some countries collect and share information gathered from email servers, including the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand (the so-called Five Eyes Nations). Depending on your area of business, the location of your server could be of huge significance.
- Internal Threat Protection – Email is a weak spot for insider threats, which come from within the organization, whether malicious or accidental. Protection against these internal threats should be an essential capability of your secure email services, helping to detect and recognize materials such as spam, inappropriate content, and more.
If your current email providers are not doing at least some, if not all, of the above, then it may be time to find a more secure supplier to handle your essential communications.
Name: Michael Bertini
Job Title: Consultant