It is quite likely that some of the individuals reading this post never experienced life without email. Of course, there are surely plenty of readers who remember the good old days of handwriting correspondence and standing in line at the post office to mail important documents. Regardless of which group you fit into, it is difficult to imagine having to function without email now that it has become an integral facet of daily life. However, as we rely more and more on email, it is important to consider email security, especially in the context of business emails.
Many companies rely (almost exclusively) on email for internal communication with employees and external communication with clients and vendors. This is generally true across all industries and sectors, and most people don’t think twice about the emails they fire off throughout the day, or the attachments that frequently go along with those messages. However, despite the prevalence and utility of email, it is not necessarily the best method for sharing important or sensitive documents. Although the security of emails has certainly improved since its inception (such as the implementation of encrypted passwords), it is still important to consider email protection and the risks associated with sending sensitive data via email.
For example, how secure is email when it comes to protecting email attachments and sensitive data? An email does not simply go from the sender to the recipient instantaneously. In fact, most emails have to travel across multiple networks and servers before arriving in their intended audience’s inbox. These pause points expose emails to attack, usually due to unsecured networks, vulnerable servers, and the people savvy enough to hack them. Moreover, because email messages generally don’t use encryption, hackers who manage to break into a network or server can easily read those emails, as well as any accompanying attachments. Some servers store emails that are decades old, and some that were actually deleted at some point. Even if hackers don’t directly target or obtain email messages, they can go after the password needed to enter an email account since many providers don’t require two-factor authentication.
In addition to the risks of hacking and phishing, email also poses the danger of sensitive information being forwarded, saved, or printed without the sender's control. With the widespread use of electronic devices, including cloud email services, this risk is even greater. If a sender's email or device is compromised, it can lead to unauthorized access.
How to protect your email?
To protect email from the various risks it faces, it's crucial to take steps to secure email communications. One such measure is to use email encryption tools to prevent hackers from intercepting and reading sensitive data in transit.
Additionally, it's important to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication as well as avoid using open Wi-Fi networks when sending or receiving emails, as these networks can be vulnerable to interception by hackers.
When it comes to attachments and links, exercise caution and don’t open or click on anything from unknown or suspicious senders, as they may be attempting to launch a phishing attack. Finally, consider using a trusted email provider that prioritizes security and has a good track record of protecting user data.
Email continues to be a vital component of both personal and business communication, but it also presents significant risks for sensitive data. Therefore, it's crucial to take proactive steps to protect email from potential security breaches. This includes using encryption tools, implementing strict password policies, and avoiding public Wi-Fi networks. It’s also important to train your team to identify potential phishing so they don’t open suspicious attachments or click links.
Email is a useful and necessary means of communicating these days, but there are too many ways that confidential information may be discovered and exploited when sent via email. Thus, it is imperative for companies to assess their file and document-sharing practices and consider investing in a service with the utmost security tools.