Email Security Best Practices 2019 That Must Be Known to Every Employee

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Ugra Narayan Pandey
I am proudly an Indian and Currently working as a Cloud Security Expert with CloudCodes.
This post is going to list email security best practices that are essential in order to be safer from cybercrimes these days. The security holder of a business can read this post carefully and then explain the measures thoroughly to their employees.

A Quick Introduction

Reading and then implementing email protection standards has never been more core than any other activity, but organizations worldwide are still going through the hurdles. Despite its advantages, an email communication system is still one of the top sources for hackers to attempt phishing attacks or data exposure incidents. According to the Data Breach Statistics 2017 report, email has been considered as the main entry gate in 96 percent of cybercrime cases. Also, these cases involved human careless mistakes that resulted in compromised tenant incidents, and 46 percent of virus malware was installed in targeted PCs via emails.

Another report from 2018 Data Breach Investigations by Verizon recommends cloud officials that phishing attacks are still in their active mode to lure targeted entities. An industry only has 16 minutes until the initial click on a phishing campaign. Unfortunately, a user can only register his or her report after 28 minutes when he or she encounters a scam email.

It’s Vital to Know The Offense

Even in the digitization world, email security is quite poor and, the main reason behind this is human careless nature. Humans are considered as the major cause of threats because their unintentional wrong activities create network security gaps and holes. These holes permit attackers to enter into the aimed system and perform their intended attack. However, it is a difficult part to defend someone. In most enterprises, they do not have sufficient amount of controls to defend, so they rely on human beings to execute correct operations.

Wait a minute! Depending upon employees completely for email security does not work. Still, lots of malicious messages are not encountered by simple security apps (like antivirus products), putting customers at a dangerous level. There are high possibilities that humans don’t wish to cause harm, but they are still the main reason for data exposures. 

The IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index’s report stated that 12 percent of threats occurred because attackers tried their best in exploiting inadvertent weaknesses of insiders. For both high-skilled and low-skilled actors, email continues to be an obvious target of selection. Ignoring email security best practices is a huge opportunity for hackers to attempt their tasks.

In What Ways Attackers Use Email To Attack?

In this particular section, we are going to make readers aware of the different strategies that hackers use to perform threats via an email system.

  • Sending Malicious Link – A malicious internet link in an email message takes the recipient on the site where his or her important account information will be harvested. Recipients assume that they are working on a safe and secure website which they share their personal details on during an inquiry. Intruders then, cleverly gain access of the official network or fetch some other confidential information, via the data they collected from recipients during the inquiry. This practice is commonly referred to as "Phishing".

  • Dropping Malware In Emails – If an email comprises of a malicious attachment within it, simply clicking on this attachment can cause infection in a user’s PC or laptop. Cyber threats like ransomware or keylogging can be performed easily if recipients open this kind of attachment. The email content and its attachment are designed in such a way that recipients get fooled and without giving a second thought, they just open it. This kind of scenario is an effective technique for hackers when they target a big company.

Email Security Best Practices

  1. Ignore Emails From Unknown Senders – In an organization, employees should be restricted from opening emails that come from unknown senders. Users should simply inform receiving such emails to their higher authorities and ignore them. The best measures to achieve email security is to ignore or simply delete any messages which originate from an unknown sender. If employees have some doubt, they should raise their concerns with C-level business executives instead of making their own decision.

  2. Create and Regularly Change Passwords – Official workers should be trained in a way that they create and design their official account password in a multilingual manner. A security password must have at least one lowercase letter, one uppercase letter, a few numbers, and a special symbol within it. This kind of password is difficult to guess by intruders and hence, increases protection from email hacking. Also, instruct employees to periodically change their tenant password at least every 2-3 months.

  3. Don’t Share Password or Business Resources – This email security best practice strictly recommends organizations to tighten their employees in a way that they never ever dream to share the business resources with some unknown person through emails. They should immediately report if such a scenario is encountered. If in case someone is insisting or convincing them to share the account password / business resources, discuss it with higher authorities and then perform any actions.

  4. Invest Time In Awareness Training Sessions – All the above three points of email security best practices need be fitted into the minds of employees so that they don’t become a reason for email hacking or data breaches. Awareness training sessions should be organized at least once in a week (or month), to give a regular dose to employees. This will remind them of the safety measures that need to be kept in mind while working with their email account.

Reading is Not Enough, Implementation Is Needed

In today’s date, the scenario is like every employee knows what email security best practices are but, he or she does not adopt them in real life. Instead of practical implementation, persons are just learning the theoretical measures to achieve protection from email hacking. We want to open eyes of such individuals and want to tell them that ‘reading the post associated with best practices for email security 2019 is time wastage until and unless you don’t implement them practically in your actual life.” So what are you waiting for? If you have understood all the email protection standards clearly, take the oath of adopting them and hence, not becoming a reason for Cyberattacks.

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