All businesses these days, no matter what the size have their own business email accounts. The increase in email communication by businesses, which includes sharing of critical data, financial information and personal employee details, has therefore led to an explosive growth in the hacker community. Hence, the need to make your business email secure has consequently soared.
When it comes to having a secure email, it generally refers to two things: 1. The level of security provided by your email client 2. The security of the email content Here are five ways by which you can make your business email more secure:
1. Secure your email client
The email client is the piece of software you use to compose, draft, send or receive your messages. It could be products like Microsoft Outlook Express, The Bat!, Mozilla Thunderbird or Webmails such as Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc.
Having a secure email client is the first step in securing your business email communication. This is done in two ways depending on the kind of email client you use:
(i) Choosing the right Email Client product Microsoft definitely has a competitive edge over Google for security and while Microsoft Outlook Express remains one of the most popular email clients, The Bat! which is a shareware email client for the Microsoft Windows OS has been highly acknowledged for its focus on security. Mac’s Tiger mail has had security issues, which makes it not very a popular choice. Also make sure that whichever of these products you use, you configure the server connection settings with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).
(ii) Using encrypted connections to your email servers for Web mails For Webmails like Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail etc, it is your web browser, which becomes your email client and hence your security depends to on the browser you use.
Hence, to secure your business email running on Webmail you must make sure the connection is secured with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. This would mean that your web address should begin with https rather than Http, and you should see a padlock icon displayed next to the address bar or on the status bar at the bottom of the browser.
2. Encrypt your email messages
By making use of encryption utilities that follow OpenPGP standard, and digital certificates you could encrypt the emails you send and decrypt the emails you receive. Here both the sending and receiving parties must have to use the email software or Web-based service that supports encrypted e-mails.
3. Use simple text emails as much as possible
Emails are usually read in HTML formatted text but if you have security concerns then switch over to reading emails in plain text. This would mean not being able to color the fonts, embed images or stylize the text but with this would also mean being able to crush web bugs and not clicking on any unwanted links posing as text.
4. Adopt instant messaging for internal communication
Surprisingly instant messaging (IM) is much more secure than email communication. The key here is to use ‘Off the record’ messaging. Using IM makes each message highly encrypted – it would be a painstaking task for any hacker to decrypt each message to understand the entire conversation while decrypting even a single message would be a task needing a team of hackers.
5. Don’t use your secure account for subscriptions and postings
As a business, you need to keep yourselves updated with the latest news and hence you subscribe ourselves for these newsletters and postings, which keep dropping by, to your inbox. It is better to use a free webmail account for these. This is because emails, which have been used for subscriptions and postings, are almost twice as likely to be spammed. Maintain these 5 guidelines to ensure your confidential material remains confidential and secure.