The popular adage about being a small business owner goes something like this: you’re responsible for everything from developing strategy and big ideas to making sure the bathrooms are neat and tidy. Somewhere in middle of that range of activities you’ll find managing your email security best practices.
If you’re not an IT expert, then there is a good chance that email security could slip and fall a few rungs down your priority list. But there has never been a more critical time for ensuring you have a secure email service. Small businesses have a 20-percent risk of being hacked. And according to a 2013 Symantec report, companies with workforces of 250 employees or fewer comprised 31 percent of cyber-attacks from the previous year.
The threat is serious, as email is among the most vulnerable areas of your IT environment. The need for robust email security best practices is very real. Here are three (3) email security tips and best practices that your company should have or be pursuing today.
1. Develop, share and reinforce policies
If you’re serious about implementing email security best practices, then realize that this is a total team effort. Whether your company has 2 people or 200, you’ll need to develop policies that work for everyone, communicate these standards across the organization, and make sure you have the right checks and balances in place to make employees accountable to these policies.
Here is a real-world example: IT tells you that unregulated downloading of attachments is a rampant problem within the company. Before you simply enact a new policy, you need to get together with department heads to make sure any file size limits or other employee stipulations are realistic for your workforce. Once you have agreement, you need to share these decisions with all employees. And once they’re in the know, you need the right amount of back-end functionality and transparency so that you can follow through on these decisions.
2. Choose hardware and software partners that synch up with policies
Once you’ve begun a companywide dialogue around IT needs, you’ll have a better idea of each department’s challenges. Armed with those details and your rebooted or refreshed procedures, you’ll be able to find a third-party IT partner who shares the same values as you and matches your functionality needs.
At Entec Systems, when we encounter customers with a need for a software suite with a secure email service that also allows remote access to shared calendars, we typically recommend Microsoft Office 365. If you’re interested in test-driving this solution, you can access a free 30-day trial of Microsoft Office 365 for your organization on our website.
3. Weigh in on content filtering
Odds are you’ll want to pursue some level of restrictive use when it comes to the file types and size your employees can both send and receive. This is among the most critical email security best practices. Additionally, depending on what industry you’re in, you’ll want to identify what levels of encryption you’ll need to handle sensitive information. Small businesses with a health care and finance focus are among those industries where you’ll want to give extra special consideration.
No matter what email security best practices you ultimately implement within your organization, it’s important to stay vigilant. Weave them into new employee training, offer regular refreshers to your workforce, and over-communicate any updates to these policies. Worms and Trojan Horse viruses are constantly being updated and adapting to new technology. It’s imperative that your organization is at least as forward thinking to stay ahead of the bad guys.
We hope you find our email best practice recommendations helpful. If you find your organization in need of additional IT security support or direction, contact Entec Systems and we’ll help you every step of the way.