Emails are one of the most convenient ways to communicate, but they can be a security risk to both individuals and businesses. By following a few simple steps, you can make your emails that bit more secure.
1. Use anti-virus software (and keep it up to date)
Robust anti-virus software is essential for keeping security threats out. The software will scan your emails for anything nefarious, and if someone does accidentally click a link or try to download a file, the software will intervene before any damage is done. Simply installing anti-virus tools isn’t enough, though. Hacks update their methodologies frequently, so you have to keep your defenses up to date too. Keep automatic updates on, and always ensure that you’re running the latest version of the software. Emails represent an easy route into your computer, but maintaining a robust anti-virus system can plug the pathway.
2. Use an identifiable email signature
Email signatures represent a layer of personalization and, therefore, security. They help recipients identify that the email is from you, and if you include legal disclaimers, you’ll ensure that your company is covered. It’s easy to make a simple signature, but the truly effective designs that reflect brand identity can be somewhat more complicated. By using exchange email signature management, you can create a uniform signature that contains all your important details and is replicable across multiple emails. Make sure that your recipients are familiar with your signature and only respond to emails that are definitely from you. If you want to make your emails even more secure, consider a digital signature that contains a digital key, giving recipients greater confidence in the sender.
3. Don’t connect to open WiFi
Most WiFi networks are nowadays secured, but you’ll still come across the occasional open network, usually in a public space. These can be convenient, but they’re a fertile hunting ground for hackers to gain access to your emails. Never send emails that share personal information while connected to open WiFi, and avoid these networks altogether where possible. Signing into your email while connected to open WiFi can give hackers access to everything: your inbox, outbox, and even drafts. That, of course, compromises personal information, so it’s always best to keep your time on open networks to a minimum.
4. Avoid sending or opening attachments
Attachments are important, but they’re often the weak link that exposes your entire system to hacks and malware. Dubious attachments will usually be sent to the spam folder (where they should never be touched), but some will inevitably slip through the net. Some companies forgo attachments altogether and stipulate that documents should be pasted into the body of the email. This level of caution works both ways. Just as you wouldn’t open attachments from new contacts, expect your email recipients to behave in the same way. Don’t send them files that you wouldn’t open yourself, as this undermines trust. Ensure that you’ve established a solid relationship before trading attachments.