As almost everyone is aware, Email was the first “killer app.” It very quickly went from being an expensive, idle curiosity, where users had to buy digital stamps in order to send each and every email, to something so ubiquitous that on average, people have 3 email addresses, even if they don’t regularly use them. It’s simple to set up a free email account. You can do it in literally minutes.
The problem, of course, is that when something becomes so commonplace, one of the first things that happens is that it begins to be taken for granted. This fact goes quite some distance toward explaining how and why worms, Trojans, and phishing scams are so wildly successful to this day. It’s not that we don’t know about these things and how they work, it’s simply that email has become such a routine part of our day that we simply don’t think about its security, or potential weaknesses in that security any more.
Maybe we should. No, strike that, we definitely should, and here are a few simple ways to help improve the security of your email. These are things you probably already know, but have put out of your mind for a while, so let’s review:
Your passwords are your first, and ultimately your best line of defense when it comes to security. Passwords should be long (at least 12 characters in length), contain a variety of characters, ranging from lower case, upper case, numeric and special characters, and should be regularly, or at least semi-regularly changed.
Your second line of defense is some form of encryption. If you’re not using an encrypted email system for business, then you should upgrade immediately. Otherwise, you are essentially locking your front door with a dead bolt, and leaving the back door wide open with a neon sign blinking above it. As you can imagine, this provides somewhat inadequate protection.
Last but certainly not least is the matter of education. Your employees are a lot like you. They too, tend to take email for granted. It’s an easy thing to do. Simply by periodically reminding everyone about safe email best practices from time to time will go a long way toward keeping those things in the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Given how much we have come to rely on email as a means of business communication, you owe it to yourself and your company to make sure it is secure. The good news is that you can implement all of the above today, and in very short order.