It’s hard to nail down the real damage that a single data breach can cost your company. We’ve all read about business giants like Uber and Facebook experiencing massive data breaches that exposed the personal information of millions of users—resulting in months of negative press, steep drops in stock value, and loss of consumer trust. And while the above become a wake-up call to customers and business owners alike on the value of protecting online accounts, the same discourse hasn’t occurred around secure emails.
Not that email breaches haven’t happened—the latest email leak surfaced just last year, when it was revealed that Yahoo suffered a massive security breach five years ago that exposed millions of email accounts to hackers.
The truth is, whether it’s your personal or business email account, your email acts as your online ID—and they’re just as vulnerable, if not more so, to attack. Even though the current spotlight is focused on shoring up defenses for user accounts, you shouldn’t lose sight of protecting your company from a huge vulnerability like an email hack. If you don’t, you could be losing more than data—you could lose your customers’ and clients’ trust. And make no mistake, reputational damage to a company accounts for huge financial losses.
Since October is National Cyber Security Month, now’s a good time to take a look at five basic steps every company must take to protect their internal data:
Consider the types of messages and attachments commonly sent over email at your company: names, addresses, legal records, driver’s licenses, W4 forms, real estate records, corporate financial records, credit card information, addresses, health records, social security numbers, etc. These sensitive pieces of data and information are exactly what hackers target. Each has a specific monetary value on the open market to cyber criminals. So at the very least make sure you’re sending a secure email by encrypting your messages and attachments.
If you’re sending an email carrying sensitive information or documents, how do your recipients know that you’re an authentic source? One way is to use a secure mail service that postmarks delivery—it’s the digital version of the Certified Mail service from the post office. But it’s even better because you can prove the exact message content that was delivered. By postmarking your email, you can have the message digitally signed, time-stamped, and sent through a federally-approved form of legal delivery.
3. 2-Factor Authentication
Add an extra layer of protection to protect your content; with two-factor authentication, you can secure your messages with a PIN sent by text, or password protect it with a secret code or phrase.
4. Email Tracking
As we saw in the disastrous leak of Sony Pictures’ emails, it’s not just about securing sensitive information—it’s about protecting your internal communications, too. If you have a secure email tracking system in place, you will always have important information at your disposal, such as: Who opened it? When did they open it? Where was it read? Was it downloaded? What links did they click? This is an effective way to ensure your emails are always arriving where they should be.
5. Multi-Platform Compatibility
If you decide on using a secure email service, make sure it works for multiple platforms. While the rest of the world is catching up on email server you’ll likely be sending messages to other organizations that don’t have encryption—but with the right service, your emails can still be secured no matter what email service they’re being sent to. And don’t forget—since hackers only gain access to systems through weak spots, it’s essential that you use a service that’s impenetrable.
Of course, an email hack affects more than just you and your employees. In 2015, Chinese hackers accessed the email accounts of the law firms Cravath, Swaine & Moore, as well as Weil, Gotshal, & Manges, selling client information for insider trading. And now with leaks and security breaches becoming more commonplace, you have a responsibility to your employees and your clients to make data security and confidentiality a top priority.
It’s time to stay ahead of the cyber security curve. A good place to start would be in implementing these 5 basic security measures, or to keep things simple, utilizing an easy, all-in-one secure email service like Trustifi. At a time like this, these small steps can mean the difference between protecting your livelihood, and putting you, your clients, and your employees at risk.
About Idan Udi Edry
Idan Udi Edry is the CEO of Trustifi, a software-as-a-service company offering a patented postmarked email system that encrypts and tracks emails. Before his work with email encryption, Idan served as an Israeli Air Force officer for more than eight years, reaching the rank of captain and leading hundreds of professionally trained military personnel in building and operating advanced information systems. A trusted authority in information technology and data security, Idan has 13 formal certifications from the most renowned IT and telecommunications organizations, and his insight has been featured in major publications like Fox News, Bloomberg BNA, and MD Edge.Source: trustifi.com