Despite a major reliance on social media for both business and pleasure, email is still a very important aspect of most people’s lives.

In the same way that our use of email has changed over the last few years, the security features in email have been evolving meaning it has never been so safe to communicate in this way. If, of course, you actively engage in the security processes.

How to secure your email -

Many of the most effective security features designed for email, are inbuilt into the platform, although of course you can always add extra layers of security to your devices. You can never be too secure.

- Multi-factor Authentication: The first level of protection for email, is to have multi-factor authentication as standard. We all have a password to access email, regardless of the provider, but to ensure no one else can get into them, asking for another form of login as well is advisable; in the form of a pin sent to your phone, fingerprint, or memorable question. This means that even if someone learns your password, they still cannot access your emails.

- Spam Filters: Spam is annoying but it can also be dangerous with links to fake websites designed to steal data, known as phishing, or attachments and links which download malware to your system.

Adding a spam filter (in addition to the one that comes with the provider as standard) can help to prevent these emails getting into your inbox in the first place. It is also possible to setup customised filters which send certain key words, or senders straight to trash or the junk folder.

- Antivirus Software: Even if you have great spam filters, it is still too easy to click on a malicious link by accident and have malicious software downloaded to your device. However, if you have anti-virus and anti-malware software installed, and regularly updated it can prevent such software from being downloaded in the first place.

It works by scanning all emails being sent and received and identifies anything malicious and blocks it.

- Image and Content Control: It’s not just links and attachments in an email that can contain malware and viruses, it’s the images as well. This means even if you don’t click on a link, opening the email can be enough to download the malicious software. However, with Image and Content Control, images will be hidden unless the email address is on a ‘safe list’.

- End to End Encryption: Another threat to email, is what happens once an email leaves your outbox. If you are using an unsecured internet connection (e.g., public Wi-Fi in a café) anything you send is potentially vulnerable to third parties who are monitoring the connection. That is, unless you have End to End Encryption.

End to End Encryption ensures that anything you send by email, is encrypted and can only be de-crypted by the recipient who has the decryption key. All of this is done automatically, but it means if a cybercriminal were to get hold of the email, they wouldn’t be able to read it or extract the data without the key.

- Staff Training: The weakest link with any IT security is the users. You can have the best systems in place, but if someone clicks on a dodgy link, or opens a malicious attachment, your entire network could be brought offline through a ransomware or malware attack. In 2021 so far, there has been more than 14.6million ransomware attacks in the UK, with the first half of the year being 151% up in 2020[1]. Many of them come into the network via email.

So, training your staff in phishing campaigns and the potential impact of clicking on that link is invaluable. Many organisations also send their staff random ‘test’ emails to see who is actually clicking on the links and putting the business at risk.

What next?

If you run much of your business via email and are worried about the implications of being hacked by cybercriminals speak to SupportWise today and we will assess your email security and make recommendations for improvement.

[1] https://digit.fyi/uk-ransomware-attacks-surge-dramatically-in-2021/