Most small businesses and startups take security seriously as they know the devastating effects it can have on a business if attacked. Without adequate training, however, companies can still be a victim of a cyber attack due to ignorance. Some businesses think that they have secure systems and they will never get hacked but sometimes the threat is brought into the business from an employee without knowing.
According to an article written by Firewall Technical, 1 in 45 emails will contain malicious code which can infect a user’s system. This malicious code comes in a variety of viruses, malware, ransomware, or trojan horses. All of these threats can cripple a user’s system and be very costly to a business.
In this article, we will be discussing some of the best ways you can keep your startup secure from the threats that come from emails.
1) Use multiple email addresses for different purposes
According to Symple IT Solutions, you should use different email addresses for different purposes because if one of them gets hacked the hacker will have access to all of your personal files as well as your work files.
Having personal information and work information coming into the same folder also makes it more likely that you are going to open emails from people you don’t know or check personal emails in work when you do this you risk the businesses infrastructure as you could infect it by opening the wrong email from the wrong person.
Splitting up your personal emails and work emails and opening them on different devices is a great way of keeping your system protected.
2) Train your staff on phishing scams
Phishing scams are emails set up to mimic real-life websites and often come in the form of asking you to reset your password because it’s been hacked or because the system has detected an unauthorised login.
When you get an email like this don’t click on any of the links within the email as it may take you to a site that looks like the site that your data has been compromised on but it could be a fake site set up to steal your information.
Clicking on these links could also take you to a website that installs malicious code on your machine.
To avoid this situation from happening check first who the email is from by going to the sender’s address. Usually, it will show it’s from an email not associated with the website. For example, if you have an email claiming your Facebook password has been hacked and the email is from an account such as firstname.lastname@example.org you should be able to work out that this is a fake email. Companies such as Facebook will not use a free email address such as Gmail, Hotmail or Outlook.
If you can’t tell if the email is from a legit source instead of clicking the link in the email go to the web location bar on your browser, visit the site and reset the password that way. By doing this you are making sure you are visiting the right website and your data isn’t being stolen.
3) Don’t open random attachments or images in emails
One of the biggest ways in which a company can get infected through email is when their staff open attachments within the emails. Attachments can hide malicious malware and ransomware and are one of the main ways in which viruses are spread.
I would be very cautious of opening attachments even from friends or contacts you know because sometimes their accounts can get infected too and send out spam emails which can cause your system to get infected.
Malicious attachments can include jpg, exe, and PDF file types. You can learn more about malicious email attachments here.
4) Install antivirus and malware scanners on your devices
Companies can get infected even when they are super careful with the emails they open and the websites they visit. For this reason, you should be scanning your network and devices regularly with virus scanners and malware scanners.
There’s plenty of software around that you can use to detect both so you can search online for the software that suits your needs. I like using AVG and Malwarebytes as they work well and both are free.
As a startup, a data breach or loss of service could be the end of your business and with 80% of companies going out of business within 6 months after a cyberattack you can see how important it is to keep your data secure and your network safe.
Using the tips above you now know what you should look out for when it comes to email security — and IT security types in general. If you use some sense along with being vigilant you are already much safer than you were before reading this article.
It’s important to remember that cyberattacks change all the time so by being vigilant you are protecting yourself against hacks that we don’t know about yet.