The most significant advantage technology brings to businesses (and the world, in general) is the ability to compensate for human error. As we have noted many times before, the most significant vulnerability to network security will always be the person at the keyboard, usually inadvertently. Hackers know this, which is the reason they choose to attack the areas where people interact with the system.
These are the weak links and are the locations where there will be innocent mistakes for cybercriminals to take advantage of.
Let’s be honest, how many times have you or your team sent a password, or other sensitive information via email?
I can hear you now, of course: “There’s an email policy in place,” or ”it’s just a quick email, what’s the harm?”
The truth of the matter is there can be plenty of damage done. Email is, by nature, an unsecured method of communication. Email is transmitted in plain text, and unless it is encrypted, the contents of your email can be intercepted as it travels between you and the recipient.
Despite all the different types and methods of email attack, the ultimate goal of any malicious email is to acquire information to use against you or your company. All email-based attacks are designed to achieve one of two purposes: either to get you to download malware or to expose private information. While an email policy can reduce such instances, encrypting your email is perhaps the most effective way to reduce human error and the exposure which accompanies it.
Such an error can take the form of a team member clicking on a link and visiting a dangerous site which infects your system. Another way is for one to fall for a spoofed email and provide the hacker with credentials, or finally, clicking on an attachment which contains malware, exposing the system. This is why it is critical you train your team on best practices and to be aware of what an email-based attack may look like.
We at KT Connections are big proponents on providing security training for employees, as an educated workforce is your biggest asset. Email despite its ubiquitous nature is no exception for the need for training; its accessibility is part of its appeal to hackers. We are also realists and understand that mistakes happen. Technology can provide the safety net needed to keep your business safe and secure, but only if it is implemented correctly.
Best practices for email security requires all emails be encrypted, not just the ones you know contain sensitive information. It is essential to encrypt everything because hackers can use any email as a means to gain entry to your system. Secondly by encrypting everything, you reduce the ability for a hacker to focus on one area to attack; instead, they have to sort through everything, reducing their efficiency.
In its most straightforward form, email encryption involves disguising the content of email messages. This reduces and even prevents sensitive information from being read by anyone not authorized to do so. In fact, not only is email encryption important for your business’ security, but it is also best practice -- even required for many industries, such as in the healthcare and financial industries.
If you’ve been having issues with email being used to attack your business or any other IT-related concerns, we provide companies of all sizes with email encryption solutions from our Rapid City location. We also offer a hardware-based security solution. This Unified Threat Management system is a perfect all-in-one solution offering protection at multiple points of entry. Call us today at 605-341-3873 for more information.
Rodd Ahrenstorff is the Director of Business Operations for KT Connections, as well as a member of the company’s ownership team starting in 2014. Rodd has been working in the computer and telecommunication fields for over twenty years—a term during which he has held a number of leadership positions. In the past, he has served as a broadcast television engineer, an systems architect, and most recently Director of Information Technology, including a role as a HIPAA Security Officer for behavioral health and multi-specialty medical providers.