Although email is extremely convenient for workplace collaboration and communication, employees tend to use email folders as a personal storage center, and, by all reports, are still flouting convention when it comes to secure email policies. As such, mass amounts of an organization’s sensitive information wind up in an email server inbox, which is dangerously insecure. This is why the importance of having the best email security solutions in the workplace cannot be overstated.
Ponemon Institute’s Study on The State of Email Encryption
Ponemon Institute conducted a study to review concerns regarding the risk of unencrypted email. In the study, Ponemon Institute surveyed 557 IT security practitioners and 273 IT, legal, and other compliance specialists. The study discovered the following:
The Risk of Unencrypted Email
As a business owner, it’s essential to ensure that email content remains confidential between the sender and the receiver. Especially if the email includes sensitive information, such as social security numbers, medical data, credit-card numbers, names, and addresses. If this information is sent in a standard, unencrypted email, the email is in plain text – simple to read for anyone who wants to intercept the email. If the email is encrypted, it’s unreadable to anyone who doesn’t have the decryption key.
If you’re neglecting email encryption, you may want to rethink it. The consequences of unencrypted email are vast; a data breach will be much more expensive than simply implementing a cost-effective email encryption solution. Also, email encryption is necessary to comply with various laws, such as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA), and Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Tips to Improve Email Security
Now that you’re aware of the concerns and risks associated with unencrypted email, it’s time to improve email security within your organization. Here are a few quick tips to help you improve email security in your workplace:
Here are some further tips for better email security:
Password managers like LastPass or 1Password can help you remember complicated passwords by storing them all in a secure place, but your primary account password should probably be stored in your own memory. It’s okay to write your password down if it helps you to remember it, as long as you store it in a safe and secure place—not on a post-it note next to your keyboard.
Try to evaluate all of the material that goes into the emails you send and cut out what may be compromising (and train your hirelings to do the same). Email servers tend to have large amounts of free storage available, but that doesn’t mean that all your proprietary data should be stored there.
Most secure providers offer options for 2FA, sometimes called “2-step verification” or “second sign-in verification.” Two-step verification is a pretty straightforward concept; in addition to your username and password, you have another form of identification, normally consisting of a code generated by a key fob or a smartphone app, that has to be put in at the time of login and changes every minute or so.
While hotel lobbies, airports, libraries, and data center computers are convenient locations to check email, they’re also a natural target for keystroke logging, data-packet-sniffing and other hacking attempts. If you must access email via a public machine, make sure you have two-factor authentication enabled through your webmail provider, which gives at least one more level of protection.
Need an IT Mentor to Help You with Email Security in the Workplace?
LAN Infotech can help you select and implement the best email security solutions in your workplace to protect the sensitive information in your employees’ email communications!