5 Things Small Business Owners Should Know About Email Encryption
Many people assume that email is a secure way to share information. It’s password protected, so it shouldn’t be easy to hack, right?
Unfortunately, that’s far from true. Email is a common point of entry for spammers who want to harm your business or steal information. If you’re a small business owner, you should be aware of the security risks with email, as well as the services that can protect you from them.
According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigation, about 61 percent of all cyber-attacks target small businesses, which costs them between $84,000 and $148,000 to repair. Most small businesses can’t absorb the impact of the breach and find themselves out of business within six months.
It’s not easy for small businesses with a limited budget to arrange the best security measures to protect their operations. Email encryption is an excellent solution for companies because it’s affordable and offers comprehensive protection of sensitive information transferred via email.
If you’re unfamiliar with this product, here are a few things you should know.
- Email is a Gateway for Cyber Criminals
Email providers secure their emails only to a certain point, but their encryption is not always strong or reliable. Some providers are better than others, but without sufficient security, email is a popular target for cyber criminals.
It’s a gateway to all the information on your device, website, and files, as well as other sensitive information. Email is also one of the easiest ways to sneak in viruses and malware.
Malicious attachments, links to obnoxious websites, ransomware, phishing, spam, and more can put your entire operating system at risk. This is what makes email encryption such a vital tool.
- How Email Encryption Works
Email encryption doesn’t make your accounts un-hackable. Instead, it ensures that unauthorized personnel won’t be able to read the information if they get to it.
It also authenticates the intended recipient so no one else can read the email once it’s sent. Encryption hides the actual information behind something that resembles web code. It’s a jumble of random letters, numbers, and symbols that are impossible to crack. That makes your sensitive information safe.
- When You Should Use Encrypted Email Services
Unless you’re speaking in code, conversations about the weather, general inquiries, and other emails that don’t contain sensitive information don’t have to be encrypted. Although no one likes an eavesdropper, there’s little risk in having such emails interrupted.
However, any emails that contain sensitive information, such as a customer’s full name, Social Security number, credit card information, billing address, or any other personal information that’s worth stealing should be encrypted.
The standards get a little tougher for professionals in the health-care industry and other information-sensitive fields. Be sure to follow all HIPAA guidelines and other privacy rules for your specific work to avoid penalties and damaging privacy breaches.
- Sync with Your Current Email Provider
Unless you’re planning to switch your email provider anyway, it’s best to use an encryption solution that works with your current provider. For example, if you’re using Microsoft Office 365 or Exchange, invest in an encryption service that can be installed on the same operator.
You could change your email provider to get better encryption services of course, but this is usually a massive hassle. It’s nearly always easier and more beneficial to use a service that works with your current provider.
- Add-Ons to Email Encryption
Although email encryption is the most effective method for keeping your information safe, it’s not the only one. Other email features, like spam filtering to protect against phishing, using strong passwords to prevent brute-force attacks, and proper training to warn employees about email risks, are almost as effective.
Employee training is one of the most significant things you can do to protect the privacy of your company and clients. Employees might not be fully aware of the risks that simple passwords and sending emails without encryption entail. Simple explanations could save your business.
Email encryption is an easy answer to one of small businesses’ biggest challenges. The more you know about protecting yourself and your customers, the better you’ll be able to handle an attack that could otherwise put you out of business.