Email security – Best Practices

In today’s digital landscape, email remains a vital part of collaboration, often serving as the first point of contact between your business and clients, suppliers, and the public. With such a critical doorstep role, it’s important you ensure your emails are professional, secure, and free from malicious intent is crucial.

Unfortunately, bad actors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, employing techniques like spoofing mailing domains to damage brand reputation, steal sensitive data, which will damage your email sending reputation. This impact extends beyond email, potentially harming the integrity of your entire digital identity, especially as email intertwines with other collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams.

To combat this threat, Mail providers like Microsoft 365 allow the enablement of tools to combat these threats, minimising risk for both incoming and outgoing emails.

This article will delve into the importance of email security, explore common cyber threats, and present the solutions available to safeguard your organisation and maintain a trustworthy online presence.

Identity Protection

Effective email protection requires a double-edged approach: shielding your incoming mail flow from malicious intrusions and ensuring the authenticity of your outgoing messages.

Both aspects work together to safeguard your brand image and data from potential threats.

Fortifying Your Incoming Inbox:

  • MTA-STS (Mail Transfer Agent Strict Transport Security): This powerful tool lets you declare two crucial things: you only accept encrypted mail (TLS), and emails must be delivered to authorised servers only. This acts as a digital moat, making it much harder for bad actors to divert or tamper with emails.
  • Safe Links and Safe Attachments: These proactive features scan URLs and attachments for embedded malware or phishing attempts, reducing the risk of falling victim to cyberattacks. Additional security layers further increase your confidence in the legitimacy of incoming messages.
  • Anti-virus and Anti-malware Engines: These industry-leading tools constantly update their databases to identify and neutralise known malware and viruses lurking within attachments or embedded links.
  • Spam Filtering: Unwanted marketing messages and bulk mail can not only be annoying but also carry hidden threats. Spam filters effectively identify and divert these distractions, keeping your inbox focused on relevant communication.
  • Content Inspection: Certain keywords, suspicious patterns, and unusual attachments can raise alarm bells. Content inspection algorithms scan incoming emails for such triggers, helping identify phishing attempts, data breaches, and other malicious activities.
Secure your organisation
from cyber security threats

Secure your organisation
from cyber security threats

Securing Your Outgoing Messages:

  • Digital Signing: Apply a digital signature to your emails. This acts like a tamper-proof seal, assuring recipients that the message is genuine and hasn’t been altered en route. Microsoft 365 offers this functionality, and you can even require all incoming emails to be digitally signed, further bolstering your brand’s trustworthiness.
  • Authentication Verification: This feature allows you to identify and block any unauthorised attempts to send emails as your company. By rejecting unsigned emails, you eliminate the risk of impersonation and associated reputational damage.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Sensitive information like credit card numbers, customer PII, or confidential business documents can accidentally slip into emails. DLP scans outgoing messages for predefined keywords and data patterns, preventing accidental leaks and ensuring compliance with internal policies and regulations.
  • Content Compliance Scans: Certain industries or internal mandates might require specific regulations for outgoing communication. Content compliance scans ensure emails adhere to these regulations, such as legal disclaimers or specific formatting.
  • Outbound Link Scanning: Malicious actors might try embedding phishing links or directing recipients to compromised websites. Outbound link scanning verifies the legitimacy and safety of any links within your emails, safeguarding your recipients and maintaining brand trust.

By implementing these combined strategies, you can create a robust email security posture, protecting your incoming messages and ensuring the trustworthiness of your outgoing communications. This, in turn, fosters trust with clients, suppliers, and the public, strengthening your brand image and mitigating potential cyber threats.

In conclusion, by prioritising email security, you invest in the future of your brand. Each protected message becomes a pixel in your digital fortress, building trust, protecting your reputation, and paving the way for success in the ever-evolving online landscape.

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Written by:

Avatar photoWarren Sherwen

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