Protecting the safety and security of your business emails is as important as your business model. If the computers and software you use are vulnerable to cyberattacks or malware, you risk putting your entire enterprise at risk. What’s more, you also run the risk of sharing your personally identifiable information (PII), which might lead to identity theft.
Stakes are high, so don’t let yourself be lax about the rules and best practices for protecting the systems at your disposal. We offer 7 key steps you can take to ensure greater cyber hygiene (i.e., practices for ensuring and improving your online security) in your company. Not only will they help ensure your email security, but they will also save you extra costs.
How Big Is the Problem?
According to the 2021 Cyber Security Statistics by PurpleSec, a veteran-led cyber security company in Washington, D.C., cybercrime is up 600%. The total malware infections increased from 12.4 million in 2009 to 812.67 million in 2018. Interestingly, 92% of malware is delivered by email.
Forbes also notes that in 2020, the world saw a record-breaking rise in the data lost in breaches and in the number of cyberattacks. Every time you send an email, you run the risk of being affected by such an attack unless you take protective measures.
How Does It Affect You?
If you let down your guard when it comes to cybersecurity, you’ll have to face consequences. Email is not immune to cyberattacks. It would be naive to assume that you’ll manage to escape unscathed. Whether you need to write a dissertation or manage a company, email is an indispensable mode of communication. Worldwide experience shows that costs are high if your email privacy is compromised. The main consequences include:
If customers feel that your company is vulnerable to cyberattacks, they might opt for your competitors. This does not bode well for your income. Simple as that.
You might be targeted by hackers who’ll try to extort money. If you save costs on taking preventive measures, you’ll have to spend more on improving security online eventually.
For any business, reputation matters. A broken IT infrastructure takes the wind out of your clients’ sails. The same is true of your partner companies. It might take years before you’ll be able to recover from reputational damage.
Any breach will have a negative impact on the routine of your daily operations. Business processes and standard operating procedures will be affected. It takes time and effort to reverse course.
Lost PII and Related Legal Complications
If you lose sensitive information, you lose customers. You can also expect dissatisfied clients to sue you for your failure to protect their privacy. You and your company might be dragged into protracted and costly litigation.
What Can I Do to Protect My Business Email Online?
Below are 7 steps you can take to safeguard against cyberattacks. They will help you protect your business email privacy and avoid the types of harmful consequences described above.
Use a Stronger Password
Make sure you use a strong password to protect your inbox. This means using a combination of letters (a mix of lower- and uppercase), numbers, and symbols. You shouldn’t use any names or numbers that are closely associated with you (e.g., the name of your spouse, your date of birth, or your social security number).
Don’t Forget to Encrypt
Don’t be lazy to encrypt your emails that contain highly sensitive data or PII. You can use either free online resources or paid services for more sophisticated methods. Hackers are less likely to spend time breaking encrypted emails.
Ensure Your Network Security
Make sure you use a virtual private network (VPN) when working online. It disguises your online identity. Protect your network from unauthorized access by installing a firewall. It’s always a good idea to use multi-factor authentication to gain access to your account. Keep your antivirus software and operating system updated.
Beware of Social Media
When chatting or posting on social media, remember that you might inadvertently share sensitive or personal information that could invite hackers to attack your account. You’ll be particularly vulnerable when using public Wi-Fi. If you run a company, it’s always a good idea to establish rules for what type of company information and data your staff can share via social media.
Be Prudent About Downloading
There is no shortage of new apps and websites offering innovative, cost-saving services. Don’t be in a hurry to download whatever seems appealing on a whim. Do some background search to find out if the company and its services are legit. Many such apps are used by malicious actors (and even countries) to access your account.
Don’t Fall Victim to Phishing
Phishing scams prompt you to share your private information. Do not click on emails you get from unknown sources, the ones asking you to take you some urgent action, or prize-winning notifications. It’s even riskier to open attachments.
Invest in Staff Training
Finally, invest in the regular cyber-awareness training of your staff. There are multiple ways of doing such training, and you can always turn training sessions into a fun experience. You can also hire professionals to accustom them to your company’s needs.
As technologies improve, so do the ways in which your email privacy can be breached. Taking steps to protect yourself from widespread cyberattacks is a must, and you cannot afford to be slack about it. At the end of the day, failure to do so might have irreversible effects on your bottom line.