Security Guide for Email Marketers: 8 Tips to Follow

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According to Hubspot, there are roughly 4 billion daily email users. It’s no surprise to see that more than 64% of businesses rely on email marketing to reach potential leads. 

Even though emails remain a widely used communication and outreach platform, it is also worth noting that this platform is prone to cybersecurity threats.

Clearedin has predicted that about 6 billion phishing attacks were to occur throughout 2022. And phishing is just one example of a security breach email users risk facing.

For email marketers, security should be one of the priorities. Mismanaging leads to exposing personal and customer data, as well as other potential troubles.

If you feel like you have not been doing everything you can to secure your emails, make the most out of the information mentioned in this article.

Update Your Devices

Start with making sure that your smartphone, tablet, and computer are up to date. Besides benefiting from the latest features and overall performance upgrades, you also reduce the odds of a breach by running the most recent operating system version.

OS developers keep a close eye on active cybersecurity threats, and whenever a threat evolves enough to overcome current security measures used in an operating system, developers need to react. Pushing for an update and notifying users about it is a common practice.

The bottom line is that missing an update on your device puts you at risk. Thus, as soon as you see a notification about a new OS version available, download and install it.

Use Antivirus Software

Antivirus software is usually associated with computers and dealing with computer malware. However, there are plenty of anti-malware tools for mobile devices. Notable examples include:

  • Bitdefender Mobile
  • Norton Mobile
  • Avast Mobile
  • Lookout Security

Some of these names also have an equivalent for computer antivirus tools. 

The purpose of antivirus software is pretty clear. It functions as a security measure to identify and eliminate potential threats.

Imagine yourself opening an email that does not look suspicious only to infect your device with malware. If you have antivirus software, the odds of letting malware in are reduced by a lot.

In addition to having your antivirus tool run in the background, you should also consider initiating custom scans now and then for that extra bit of safety. Do not discard the possibility that the antivirus might have missed something while monitoring the device in real time.

Create Complicated Passwords

Complicated passwords are a bother to deal with, especially if you are using multiple email accounts and trying to pick different passwords for each.

Nevertheless, if someone was to attempt to hack your account, they would have a harder time succeeding.

Ideally, your password should include the following:

  • Both lowercase and uppercase letters
  • Symbols and numbers

It is also recommended to use combinations that do not make a lot of sense. For instance, “John123” or “Password123” are hardly great examples of solid passwords, even if they have lower and uppercase letters and numbers. 

A password that looks like “^S5%Ebf3Ka34V3LW” or “t+ENcF)H%n($wYmD” is much, much harder to figure out.

Having said that, while complicated passwords offer a solid security layer to your email accounts, how likely are you to remember multiple combinations of such random passwords?

The solution to memorization woes lies in a password manager that stores your login credentials and allows access to the data via a master password. The best password managers at the moment are:

  • 1Password
  • LastPass
  • Dashlane
  • Bitwarden
  • NordPass

Enable 2-Factor Authentication

Strong passwords are a great solution to protect your email account login credentials. But you can fortify the security levels another notch by introducing 2FA authentication.

2-factor authentication has become a standard security practice. Enabling a second login step complicates hacking attempts from the attacker’s perspective.

Even if they got your login details, they would need to confirm the authenticity via another step, such as a security code received via mobile text or a phone call.

Check if your email service provider offers 2-factor authentication. If such an option exists, set it up. And if 2FA is not available, you might want to consider switching to another ESP.

Consider Email Security Tools

Dedicated security tools for email marketers are worth a shout. Combining third-party security software with smart general security practices ought to create a safe environment.

#1 – Mimecast

Mimecast is a cloud-based tool that detects and protects you from phishing, spam, ransomware, and even impersonations. 

#2 – Proofpoint Email Protection

PEP is one of the most widely used email security tools. It excels at general security protocols and multi-layer analysis to detect more complicated threats.

#3 – SecureLayer7

SecureLayer7 is a penetration-testing software that scans, maps, and identifies security vulnerabilities.

Avoid Unreliable Wi-Fi Networks

As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid insecure Wi-Fi networks while working remotely. Your usual home network should not have security holes, but the same cannot be said about wireless networks at hotels, libraries, cafes, etc.

The missing security protocols are to be expected for public Wi-Fi. Connecting to such a network puts your computer or mobile device at risk. Potential attackers will target your device and attempt to get hold of your personal details, including email credentials.

If you have no option but to use public Wi-Fi, the least you can do is create a security wall with the help of a virtual private network. VPNs encrypt data to foil attacker plans.

Investigate Before You Click

You might open an email and be amazed by its copy. If an email has a call to action which entices you to download an attachment or visit a landing page, you should not get fooled even if the request comes with a persuasive message, however.

Always investigate emails before you click on anything. Scams are prevalent, and you should not underestimate an email, even if it looks harmless. 

Be smart and double-check whether an email comes from a legit source. It could be someone posing as your bank or a coworker trying to appear legitimate.

And even if the email address is in check, you should still keep your guard up. The odds are that a hacker was successful in usurping a real email account.

If you are uncertain about the legitimacy of an email, use antivirus software or one of the available tools to scan its contents, including attachments and landing pages included in the message. 

Back Up Data and Secure the Email Gateway

The last bit of advice is to secure your email gateway and back up critical data. The former is a means to scan and process sent and received emails.

There are two types of email gateways:

  • On-premise email server (Exchange; Proofpoint Email Protection)
  • Cloud-based (Microsoft Office 365; Mimecast)

As for data backups, it is another example of security practice. A precaution to have a copy of corrupted files in case of attacks on your systems and network adds that extra element of safety.

Pro tip: Certain forms of cybersecurity threats can remain idle for weeks or months and suddenly trigger, destroying not just the original files but backups as well. As an extra precaution, enable automatic backups and create multiple data copies in different locations.

Conclusion

All in all, the popularity of email marketing creates a desirable target for hacker attacks. To prevent potential cybersecurity problems, follow the security practices mentioned in this email security guide. And remember that the more of these tips you incorporate into your security strategy, the better off you will be.

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This post was originally posted on Contact Out.

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