It’s a fact that email is one of the weakest links in data security. The problem with email is that it’s an older technology and is just now playing catchup in regards to security. It’s also used by the general populace, a group that is often resistant to the sometimes onerous demands of user-initiated security demands. Thankfully, there are now more advances in technology that can help to secure emails in more standard and easily implemented methods.
Email just wasn’t made for data security. According to Caplinked, while many new encryption technologies have been made, regular encryption mostly protects email communications as they leave your device, leaving messages open to access as it travels across the web. Emails can be accessed directly from your phone and other devices by programs that have access to them. The recipients of your emails can also experience these same security issues. Other areas of weakness include the myriad connections between the networks and servers your emails travel along as well as the connections to the recipient’s networks. It’s important to ensure that you have complete data protection with AES 256-bit encryption and granular permission settings.
According to Valency Networks, many servers are vulnerable to hacks that seek to intercept personal and other data. Email, like other data, is commonly stored on servers and is susceptible to hacking attacks if security preventive measures aren’t put in place. First, ensure that your email server is behind a firewall on a different network partition that’s separated from the internet and from any internal LANs. You can also use a mail gateway.
If possible, use a dedicated server for your email, or even have separate dedicated servers for inbound and outbound emails. Disable unused services and protocols on your email server, and be sure to utilize applications that test embedded links. Disable email services like SMTP, POP3, and IMAP if they’re not needed and discontinue using older versions of mail transfer programs. On the user end, you can require end-to-end encryptions and the use of enforced strong passwords.
Email spoofing is the practice of using a phishing link that appears like it’s from a trusted web domain. According to DMARC Analyzer, using a protocol like Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Compliance, or DMARC, can help to identify these deceptive emails. DMARC is complementary to an existing email authentication system and works in tandem with email receivers to determine if the email is aligned with what the receiving system knows about the sending system. Other anti-spoofing programs include DKIM and SPF, which work by verifying legitimate sending and “return-to” addresses, albeit through slightly different methods.
Email is a vast area of mostly unsecured data, and it can be daunting to consider how best to secure this data in as painless a way as possible. The security of the company has to be weighed against the habits and desires of the users, but, ultimately, email has to be secure in order to protect all data present on connected servers and connecting devices. Protected email data helps to protect all data.
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