Protecting email accounts can prevent phishing scams, data breaches, and all kinds of other problems. In business, it’s just as important to protect the email accounts linked to your business server as it is to protect login credentials for more sensitive systems. Emails can often contain sensitive or private information as well, and you certainly wouldn’t want to allow someone to access your internal communications.
Securing your business email accounts is easy with these five helpful tips. We’ll cover everything from best practices for new users and improving passwords to teaching cybersecurity to your employees to improve the company’s overall security.
1. Don’t Reuse Old Addresses
This actually happens more than you might think, especially with smaller businesses. When someone quits or is let go from a business, often, their email address will still be active, and whoever takes their spot simply adopts that address. What’s the problem here?
Reusing old email addresses in your business is a bad idea because the previous person could still have access. Also, you’ll probably want to give your new employee their own unique email address. If you hire someone named Mandy and their email address is “firstname.lastname@example.org”, it’s probably going to confuse a few people. Giving everyone a unique email address ensures that communication goes smoothly and unauthorized users don’t have access.
Also, there could be local or state privacy laws that actually prevent you from recycling old email addresses. You could be held accountable if you violate these laws, so be careful. The best way to avoid trouble is not to reuse them at all.
2. Improve Your Passwords
Passwords are incredibly important to securing business email accounts. A good password can completely thwart a hacker, or at least slow them down enough that they can be caught in the act. Good passwords aren’t hard to create, but you’d be surprised how many people are creating terrible passwords for their accounts—even at work. Compromised work emails can be dangerous to the organization, which is why creating strong passwords and reinforcing good password habits is crucial to a secure organization.
Using an online password manager is a great way to create, store, and manage more complex and secure passwords. You’ll also get notifications when your passwords are outdated, too weak, or recycled from other websites. A good password manager can save you plenty of headache and potentially money if there’s a security breach. Your passwords won’t be at risk since they’re on an entirely different server.
3. Encourage Email Privacy
Privacy is a crucial component of security, and you’ll want to have some standards when it comes to email privacy at work (and outside of work). Users should keep their email accounts private. This means not leaving them open when they leave their desks, and not showing people outside of the organization their email interface.
You can learn quite a lot about an email account just by looking at the interface. When someone is logged in, you can see their first and last name, some personal details, the email address, and a thumbnail of all the emails in their inbox.
Employees should treat their work emails with care. Make sure they’re not sharing them with anyone else, and discourage having promotional emails or other third-party site emails sent to the work address. Work emails should be for work only in order to keep everyone secure.
4. Old Emails Should Be Deactivated or Deleted
It’s always a good idea to deactivate/delete old email addresses. Since you won’t be recycling them for someone else to use, you can simply delete them. That way, no one can have access to them, and there’s no potential that a breach could happen from that email address.
The domain your website is registered on will probably have an email address limit as well, so it becomes a matter of cost to not have too many active email addresses on your domain at once. Otherwise, you’re paying for accounts that no one uses anymore!
5. Teach Cybersecurity To Everyone In Your Business
Perhaps the best way to protect business email accounts is to teach good cybersecurity practices to your employees. This includes creating strong passwords, utilizing the password management services you provide, keeping passwords, emails, and other company info private, and avoiding opening emails from strange accounts.
The more you educate your employees on cybersecurity, the more secure your organization will be as a whole. Employees play a vital role in the organization’s cybersecurity—whether they realize it or not. Even with password managers and other software available, a single dishonest employee or one who’s ignorant of cybersecurity measures can wreak havoc on the system.
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting those business email accounts. When you have a user finally quit the company, delete their account. Don’t reuse old accounts, teach better cybersecurity practices, and use the many tools available to modern users, like password managers. Your company’s cybersecurity depends both on your employees’ knowledge and commitment to security and you making the right tools and knowledge available to them.