Email Security Tips & Tricks

Gray wooden door with bolt and two locked padlocks.

Unsecured email is akin to a postcard, legible to anyone accessing it.

Increasingly, our modern world revolves around and relies on technology – and that fact continually creates new opportunities for hackers to try and steal someone’s personal information. No matter your level of “tech savvy,” it is important to always remember the risk involved with sending anything via email, regardless of the security strength on either the recipient side or sender side.

In today’s digital era, we are often tasked with transmitting sensitive personal and financial information online. As a leading financial services company, we want to remind you about the importance of keeping your data secure, especially when sent via email. This data could be personal identifiable information or PII (such as a driver’s license number, birth date), Social Security numbers, bank account details, pay rates, and more.

Risks of unsecured email
Any email is subject to a variety of threats including interception, hacking and accidental misdirection. Remember: think “postcard.”

Confidential information can be compromised in a number of ways:

  1. Phishing attacks: Cybercriminals can trick you into revealing sensitive information by impersonating legitimate entities.
  2. Man-in-the-middle attacks: Hackers can intercept and alter your emails while in transit to your intended recipient.
  3. Email spoofing: Fraudsters can send emails appearing to originate from a trusted source to collect sensitive information.

Secure your email transmissions
Given these risks, it is critical to ensure your sensitive data is secure when sending it via email. Here are a few methods:

  1. Encryption: Email encryption transforms the content of your email into unreadable text until it reaches the intended recipient. If an encrypted email is intercepted, it remains secure as the content is unreadable to unauthorized parties.
  2. Secure email platforms: Using email platforms that prioritize security can help. These platforms provide end-to-end encryption, ensuring only you and your intended recipient can read the content.
  3. Secure file transfers: When sending documents with sensitive data, consider secure file transfer tools. These services encrypt your files during upload, transit and download, safeguarding your information throughout the process.
  4. Multifactor authentication (MFA): MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring multiple methods of verification. This reduces the chance of unauthorized access, even if your password is compromised. An example of MFA use is when you log in to your online banking, the bank then texts your phone a code that you have to immediately type into the bank sign-on portal before your account becomes accessible.

Best practices for email security

  1. Never share sensitive information in the body of an email. Instead, put that information into its own document(s) that you then send as an encrypted attachment or through a secure file transfer service.
  2. Regularly update your passwords and use a mix of characters, numbers and symbols to make it harder for cybercriminals to crack.
  3. Beware of phishing attempts. Never click on suspicious links or download attachments from unknown senders.
  4. Utilize MFA wherever possible. This adds an extra layer of security that can keep your information safe even if your primary password is compromised.
  5. Keep your devices and software up to date. Regular updates often include security patches to protect against new threats.

Remember, your information security is as strong as the weakest link in your practices. Stay vigilant and secure in your digital communications, and do not hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. After all, protecting your sensitive financial and personal data is our shared responsibility.

* This article is not a complete listing of all the details related to this business / accounting topic and you should contact your CPA for a more detailed discussion regarding these items and how they may apply to your specific situation.

Photo credit: Harri Hofer,