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E-mail security in the workplace

E-mail is the most important communication method in business. Today, e-mails have the same legal status as paper documents. But the use of e-mail entails the necessary risks for SMEs.

SMEs that do not have their e-mail security in order are particularly at risk. Are your company’s e-mail servers insufficiently secured? Then this can have major consequences for your company.

What are the risks of poor e-mail security?

If your company’s e-mail security is not in order, it poses a major risk to your company. Spam e-mails, phishing e-mails and spoofing are terms that may be familiar to you. These are techniques used by cybercriminals to enter your systems via your company’s e-mail server, to cause damage or to steal data, often for financial reasons.

Spam e-mails are not only a nuisance, but they can also be very harmful. For example, if an employee clicks on a link in the e-mail or opens an attachment, malware (malicious software) can be installed.

In the case of phishing e-mails, employees are redirected to a fake website, such as a website that looks identical to that of a bank.

With spoofing, criminals have managed to get into your e-mail server and send e-mails from your company name, such as spam. In addition to financial damage, you also incur reputational damage.

It goes without saying that poor e-mail security can wreak havoc. Not only can import data from your company be stolen, but cybercriminals can steal money. Your company’s reputation is also at stake.

E-mail security is required by law

Business e-mail security is not only a necessity to avoid the consequences of internet crime. As a company, you have a legal obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The AVG is a European regulation that obliges companies to handle the privacy-sensitive data of customers and relations with care.

It goes without saying that if you don’t have your e-mail security in order, cybercriminals have much easier access to confidential data. With good e-mail security in the workplace, you meet the conditions stated in the GDPR.

How do you ensure business e-mail security?

There are various methods to ensure business e-mail security. We list several security options with which you can improve the e-mail security of your company.

E-mail encryption

A commonly used security method is e-mail encryption, i.e. encrypting all e-mails sent from your company.

E-mail encryption ensures that the text in an e-mail message is encrypted and converted to plain text. The recipient receives a so-called digital key to decrypt the message. E-mail encryption is done via a protocol that most companies and e-mail software programs use.

Set a strong e-mail password

Each e-mail account has a unique password that only the creator knows. You will be surprised how many companies and employees choose an easy password.

A good password has at least 12 characters and consists of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Do you want a strong password, but you have no inspiration yourself? There are digital password generators these days. Not only individual e-mail accounts must be provided with a password, but this also applies to the e-mail server itself.

Incidentally, a good password does not only apply to e-mail accounts and the e-mail server. Every employee must have a good password to log in. Ensure a screen is locked when the PC or laptop is not in use. In this way, unauthorized persons cannot physically use the PC if the employee is not there for a while. This prevents unauthorized access to e-mail accounts via unattended computers.

Set up an e-mail gateway

Prevent e-mails entering your organization from reaching the recipient directly, so you can delete malicious e-mails before they reach an employee. This can be done by installing an e-mail gateway on your e-mail server. All incoming e-mails are scanned for spam or malicious attachments. These e-mails are, as they were, set aside and do not enter the organization.

Set up a Sender Policy Framework (SPF).

In addition to checking incoming e-mails with a gateway, it is a good idea to check outgoing e-mails. Why? Because you can become a victim of spoofing, where your e-mail addresses can be used for spam, for example. A Sender Policy Framework (SPE) checks whether the person sending the e-mails is authorized to use the address. This also prevents your company’s e-mails from ending up in the spam box of the recipient.

Create awareness among employees about the risks

No matter how many technical gadgets you build into your e-mail systems, ultimately it is your team that poses the greatest risk to e-mail security. Spam e-mails do not open by themselves. This requires human work and people make mistakes.

Creating awareness among your employees is, therefore, very important. Offer your employees training on cyber security and how to use e-mail safely.

Guardey raises awareness of cyber risks. This is so that your employees recognize spam and phishing e-mails, for example, and damage to your organization is prevented.

Enter an e-mail policy

In addition to training, the introduction of an e-mail policy can raise awareness. With an e-mail policy, you place a lot of responsibility on the employee. For example, the e-mail policy states that it is prohibited to deliberately visit suspicious or unreliable websites or to send spam e-mails.

An e-mail policy is a big stick for employees to consciously e-mail. While policies vary by company, you can take a default e-mail policy and make specific adjustments to it.

Are you curious about what Guardey can do for your company? Start now completely free with Guardey and try it out for 14 days or schedule a demo if you want to learn more about Guardey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is gamification?

Gamification is adding game elements into non-game environments, such as security awareness training, to increase participation and foster active learning.

What are the benefits of gamification in security awareness training?

Traditional security awareness training can often be dry and boring. With gamification, the complex subject matter is transformed into an engaging and memorable experience.

By integrating game elements such as challenges, quizzes and rewards, it incentivizes users to actively learn. This makes the training more enjoyable and fosters a sense of competition and achievement. This combination drives better retention and application of cyber security knowledge.

Why is it important to train security awareness on a weekly basis?

Research shows that up to 90% of the learnings from yearly or even quarterly training are forgotten within a few weeks. Guardey was built to keep its users aware of cyber threats 365 days a year. The game comes with short, weekly challenges that slowly builds up the user’s knowledge and eventually drives lasting behavior change.

Which topics are covered in Guardey’s security awareness game?

Guardey covers a wide array of topics to train users about all currently relevant cyber threats, put together in collaboration with ethical hackers and educationalists. The topics covered include phishing, remote work, password security, CEO fraud, ransomware, smishing, and much more.

How much time do the weekly challenges take?

Every challenge takes up to three minutes to complete.

Can I use Guardey to comply with the ISO27001, NIS2, and GDPR security awareness policies?

Yes. ISO27001, NIS2, and GDPR all require that all employees receive appropriate security awareness training. Guardey is always up-to-date with the latest cyber threats, policies, and procedures.

Is security awareness training important for all employees, or just specific roles?

Cybersecurity awareness training is crucial for all employees, not just specific roles. Every staff member can potentially be a target or an unwitting entry point for cyber attacks. Training helps create a security-focused culture and minimizes risks for the entire organization.

While certain roles may require specialized training, a foundational level of training should be accessible to everyone.

In which languages is Guardey available?

Guardey is available in English, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Polish, Swedish and Danish.

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