Email security: Best practices to fortify your company’s defenses

Img blog Email security Best practices to fortify your company s defenses

For decades, businesses have primarily relied on email as the main method for communication and exchanging information. However, when something as crucial as email is relied upon so heavily, highly motivated cybercriminals are bound to try and take advantage of it. In fact, among all the entry points a hacker can exploit, email continues to be the most vulnerable and commonly used gateway for cyberthreats, such as phishing scams and malware attacks. 

To keep your business safe from these threats, you need to implement the following email security best practices: 

Establish internal policies for email security

Effective email security begins with establishing clear and comprehensive internal policies and procedures. Here’s a list of things to consider when developing your policies and procedures:

  • Acceptable usage policies of company email, including details on what is considered appropriate content for work emails
  • Policies outlining where employees can access company emails and what devices they can use
  • Restrictions for sending sensitive information through email, such as confidential business data, Social Security information, or credit card numbers
  • Guidelines for handling suspicious emails and reporting potential threats to the appropriate personnel or IT team

Encrypt email communications

When sending sensitive or confidential information via email, encryption is vital. Fortunately, most email clients and service providers offer encryption options for emails. More specifically, look for the S/MIME or PGP encryption option when composing an email. These methods use public and private keys to scramble the content of your email from end to end, making it difficult for hackers to intercept and understand the information. Additionally data loss prevention tools can be used to automatically scan outgoing emails for sensitive information and encrypt them or prevent them from being sent if needed.

Enable multifactor authentication

A common tactic used by hackers is to gain access to email accounts and use them to send malicious emails or gather sensitive information. Strong passwords may help stave off such attacks, but they alone create a single point of failure for hackers to compromise.

Multifactor authentication adds an extra layer by requesting for additional forms of identity verification during the login process, which may include biometrics, one-time passwords, or security questions. For most email clients, the extra authentication factor will typically involve a temporary passcode generated by a company-approved mobile authenticator app such as Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator.

Use advanced email security software

Advanced email security software can help mitigate the risks of cyberattacks by scanning and filtering incoming and outgoing emails for potential threats. These solutions use sophisticated algorithms to identify suspicious links, attachments, and content that may indicate a phishing or malware attack. If a potential threat is detected, the software can automatically quarantine or block the email from reaching its intended recipient, saving your business from a potential security breach.

Some advanced email security tools also include features such as:

  • Spam filtering prevents unwanted emails (e.g., unsolicited advertisements or fraudulent emails) from reaching your inbox.
  • Sandboxing isolates attachments or links within an email and tests them for malicious behavior (e.g., attempts to access sensitive information or large file transfer requests) before they are delivered to the recipient.
  • Real-time threat intelligence continuously monitors email traffic and updates security measures to protect against new and emerging threats.

Set up email authentication protocols

Email spoofing is a tactic that involves copying the email addresses of legitimate senders to deceive recipients into thinking they are receiving an email from a trusted source. For example, an email may have a similar=looking domain address as your company’s but with slight variations (e.g., instead of What’s worse is that some spoof emails have become nearly indistinguishable from authentic emails. 

To spot spoofed emails, use email authentication protocols like Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, Sender Policy Framework, and DomainKeys Identified Mail. These protocols use digital signatures and domain verification methods to confirm the authenticity of an incoming email. And if an email fails the authentication process, it can be automatically rejected or marked as suspicious.

Provide email security awareness training

The best security measures money can buy can be completely negated by a single employee who clicks on a phishing link or unknowingly discloses sensitive information to an imposter. That’s why it’s crucial to provide regular email security awareness training for all employees. 

Such a training program should cover policies regarding responsible email usage as well as how to recognize and handle potential threats. Responsible email usage may entail not sending sensitive information through email or refraining from using company email for personal use. Meanwhile, threat recognition training may involve identifying the signs of a phishing email, such as spoofed sender addresses, urgent requests for personal information, grammatical errors, and suspicious links or attachments. Training should also include how to report potential threats and who to contact in case of a security breach. 

Install Phish Fence banners

To keep security at the forefront of employees’ minds, consider installing Phish Fence banners on email clients. These banners are designed to appear at the top of incoming emails, reminding employees to be cautious when opening links or attachments from external sources. Phish Fence uses artificial intelligence to assess the sender’s reputation, email content, attachment, and URL safety ratings before displaying the banner. If users see a Phish Fence banner, they are advised not to open any links or attachments unless they can confirm the email’s legitimacy with the sender. 

There’s a lot at stake when it comes to email security, so it’s essential to take all necessary precautions to protect your business from cyberthreats. If you need expert guidance in setting up email security measures and best practices, reach out to Tech Partners Hawaii today. We offer proven solutions to safeguard your business from all manner of email threats.