Email Security Best Practices for Small Businesses

Spike Team
By Spike Team, Updated on May 18, 2020, 4 min read
how to send a secure email

Email security is a serious business. In fact, it’s as important now as it ever was. Each year, the number of emails we send and receive grows, and so does the threat posed by viruses, malware, trojans, ransomware, and data breaches. Encouraging email security best practices for users is crucial in helping your company to remain safe.


Learning how to secure your email and ensuring your business is protected should be a priority from day one. However, while most employees will already have some kind of awareness of the threat, it is important that you approach this issue from a company-wide perspective. Here, we look at a few best practices your company can enact in order to improve security and minimize the chances of your sensitive data being compromised.



Create an Email Security Policy

All small businesses should have a watertight email security policy that staff can read and archive. It should be presented as part of your induction pack on the first day of employment and then kept stored somewhere for easy access when required. It should also be created collaboratively with your existing staff, allowing you to optimize email security best practices without impeding workflows.


Education is the key to keeping your company safe, and an email security policy is your reference text. Make sure all departments understand what is required of them on a daily basis and update your document as new threats emerge. Additionally, cover topics such as document attachment and email encryption so everyone is aware of your company’s email policy best practices when sending particularly sensitive data.



Regularly Change Passwords

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It’s pretty shocking how often passwords get hacked, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that even email providers are not the greatest protectors of your personal data! As part of your email security policy, you should encourage staff to regularly change their passwords to minimize the possibility of this happening, keeping your entire network protected at the same time.


When changing passwords, it is crucial that you stress the importance of non-personal formulations. Things such as dates of birth, partner’s names, pet names, and other personal information make it all the easier for hackers. The best passwords are made using a password generator, and when combined with a password manager, they ensure your email is less likely to be hacked.



Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is another email safety best practice, leveraging technology to add another layer of security to your communications. The most effective methods combine your computer and your smartphone, requesting access on your handheld device using a code. Once set up, it takes a few extra seconds to access your email, however, it is almost impossible for a hacker to break into your account unless they have your device (which is also password protected).



Hold Annual Email Security Refreshers

As we’ve previously mentioned, education is among the most effective tools in your fight against email security threats. Teaching your staff how to send a secure email, how to encrypt email properly, and how to deal with suspicious emails should be done on an annual basis—particularly as hackers regularly change up their tactics and develop more sophisticated attacks.


An annual refresher that covers email safety best practices is a great way to ensure everyone is working together to prevent attacks. It doesn’t need to be overly long or particularly comprehensive, however, it does give you the chance to discuss any new developments, either technological or policy-based, and think about how your email security can be improved over the next year.



Use Archiving and Backup Features

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Archiving and email backups are your best friend when it comes to lost data. If you are hacked or you get a virus, the potential remains for you to lose tons of important data, documents, contacts and more. Ensuring you have everything backed up and archived in an easily accessible way will ensure your business can continue to function even if the worst happens.


Ask staff to regularly back up emails and any associated data, and also get your IT department to schedule regular company-wide backups that can run autonomously. Additionally, it is important to remember that your archived data should be stored on a separate server or cloud storage platform, ensuring that any hack or data breach on your email server does not affect your backups.


Spike’s 21st century approach to email is redefining communication. To learn more about Conversational Email and what we have in store for the future, stay tuned to the Spike blog or tweet us at @SpikeNowHQ.

Spike Team
Spike Team The Spike team posts about productivity, time management, and the future of email, messaging and collaboration.

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