Email security is an area that ,although people talk about it in terms of spam and viruses, consists of a lot more. It is quite a wide ranging topic that could include encryption, tapping and ISP listening to name just a few often unmentioned unmentionables that companies in particular need to be aware of. Another issue that people regularly bring up is the power of The Patriot Act in the US and what does that mean for people using email services from US companies regardless of where the service is based.
However these issues are too much to deal with on this page, although we may offer some advice on them on future pages. For the purposes of this page we will do our best to give companies some practical and sound advice on how to protect their email.
Tips to help you look after your email security
1. People say not to publish your email address on the internet. However, if you do want to be easily contactable by the general public then it can be useful to publish your address. The main reason to not publish your email address is that robots(small programs that scan web pages) can collect all published email addresses for spammers and then sell them to illicit businesses to send you unwanted email. The way to prevent this is to publish your email address in a format that cannot be read by one of these programs. There are a number of options here such as using an image.
2. Online Signups. Nearly everything you want to download or sign up to now insists on you handing over your email address. Really the only way to deal with this is to have alias email addresses or secondary accounts for sign ups. A large proportion of free email addresses are used only for this purpose.
3. Use an external security service. Obviously I am biased on this one but this has been proven to be the safest way to deal with unwanted email of any type. By putting your email through an online security service the third party will act as an external email firewall to implement numerous technical techniques to remove unwanted traffic. These services operate on a number of levels not normally available in an in-house appliance or piece of software. Pricing has come down significanly over the last number of years and really is the way to go.
4. Use Encryption. Also only really simple to implement through a 3rd party service but it is imperitive to implement as a minimum TLS encryption on your email. If there are particular companies you deal with where you would like all email to remain private insist on policy based TLS encryption. Also very easy to implement. Email is normally sent as a plain text transmission over public networks. A copy of this traffic can easily be set aside by engineers in ISP’s through which the email passes. Take this advice seriously and encrypt the email.
5. Don’t access your email from public places, especially internet cafe’s.
Take a look at our email security page to try and understand more about how email security works.