Despite its prevalence and convenience, email is one of the least secure forms of communication. Even though it seems like your message goes directly from your computer to the recipient’s inbox, it’s not actually a direct communication.
Email passes through multiple servers, including the ISPs involved as well as the email client’s. Several copies of the message get stored at each server along the way, and more copies are stored on both the sender and recipient’s computer so even when you delete an email, there are still several copies out there.
With this in mind, it’s no wonder that data breaches are increasingly common and often result in thousands of email addresses being compromised. This is a headache for individuals but it can be devastating for a business.
How can you protect your company, employees, and clients from data breaches? And if you do fall victim to hackers, how can you put the pieces back together? Our managed IT services include network security to prevent disaster, as well as backup and disaster recovery to help mitigate any damage that may occur.
In addition to our services, there are a few steps you can take to use your email more securely. Here are six simple ways our 24/7 Help Desk recommends you and your employees can secure your email messages and help prevent.
- Use a Strong Password
- Create Your Own Security Questions
- Use False Information for Your Security Questions
- Set Up Your Recovery Phone Number & Email Address
- Use 2-Factor Authentication
- Encrypt Your Emails
How to Use Your Email More Securely
1. Use a Strong Password
Using a strong password isn’t a foolproof way to safeguard your account, but it’s a basic way to use your email more securely. Avoid using passwords with information that can be easily guessed such as your name or your spouse’s, child’s, or pet’s name. Always use a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols to create a password that would be difficult for someone else to guess.
2. Create Your Own Security Questions
When setting up your security questions, always create your own if the option is available. Common security questions ask questions that could be answered by someone who knows you well or does a bit of research on you. When you create your own question, you can use information that only you know, making the answers harder to find.
3. Use False Information for Your Security Questions
If creating your own security questions isn’t an option, it’s a good idea to use false information to answer the existing questions. For example, choose a city you have never been to for your hometown or place of birth and use a different name for your mother’s maiden name. Just be sure to write these answers down and keep them in a safe place so you don’t forget them.
4. Set Up Your Recovery Phone Number & Email Address
Many email service providers, like Gmail, allow you to enter a recovery email address or phone number. If there is a suspicious login on your account, this phone number and/or email address will get an alert. These alerts allow you to secure your account the minute suspicious activity is detected, so always make sure your recovery contact information is up to date.
5. Use 2-Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication, sometimes called 2FA or multi-factor authentication, requires additional information at sign in beyond the username and password. Requiring this additional information, such as a code sent to your phone, means that even if someone has your password, they still won’t be able to log in.
6. Encrypt Your Emails
As we mentioned, email is not a direct form of communication so there is a chance of it being read along the way. Email encryption is a great way to use your email more securely. Encryption refers to disguising the content of your emails to protect sensitive information from being read by anyone other than the intended recipients. Emails are encrypted by default on some email service providers but it only works if your recipient’s email address is on the same platform.
Make Your Email Even More Secure
If you’re ready to safeguard your company’s information with network security managed IT services and IT Outsourcing Services, Strategic Systems – A Division of CEI is an affordable solution for Raleigh businesses. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us by calling (919) 783-1410 or fill out our online contact form below.