Decrease the Chances of Your Business Getting Hacked by Increasing Email Security Awareness of Your Employees

Email Security Awareness

Did you know that cybercrime costs $6 trillion per year and that an average business loses $4.24 million on average annually due to cyber attacks?

For any business, this is a huge amount, but especially for a small business that’s only starting and it could mean the end of it.

Global Cybercrime damage cost
Source: CyberCrime Magazine

The bad news is that cybercrime is not going anywhere and, if anything, it is only growing bigger and stronger, increasing each year in scope and cost.

The good news, however, is that preventing cyber threats in your organization actually costs much less than paying for the cost of a cyber attack once it already happens.

What you need to do is increase the email security awareness in your company and we’ll show you how to do it in this article.

The Necessity of Email Security Awareness Training Explained

So why is email security awareness training necessary?

The number of cyber threats that can come through a simple email are many and understanding them is the first step in making sure they don’t happen to your business.

What’s more, the average time to identify and contain threats like these increases each year, with companies needing 212 days to identify and another 75 to contain a breach on average.

Average time to identify and contain a data breach
Source: Digital Guardian

These cyber threats include:

  • Phishing attacks – Phishing, whether regular phishing emails, or more advanced spear phishing techniques, is the favorite way of cyber attackers to obtain sensitive information from email users. The idea here is to trick the email user into thinking that the email came from a legitimate source and get them to share sensitive data such as their personal information.
  • Malicious software – Malware can come in many shapes and forms and it doesn’t always have to do damage (adware and spyware). However, viruses, trojans and other types of malicious software are more than able to steal data and worse.
  • Keyloggers – Keyloggers allow a cyber attacker to see exactly what you or your employee types and this may include login information, social security and credit card numbers, customer personal data and more. As they are often difficult to detect (because there are really no warning signs that you have a keylogger until cyber criminals try to use this information), they can be very dangerous.
  • Ransomware – When it comes to cyber threats, most businesses are worried about ransomware and having to pay off one. These can cost millions of dollars to a company and they are growing in popularity among cyber criminals.

How to Increase Email Security Awareness and Prevent Cyber Attacks in Your Company?

Like we said, these email threats can be prevented even before they occur with the right cybersecurity awareness program.

We’re going to give you a few tips on how to raise awareness of cyber threats in your organization. This isn’t something that only applies to your security team, but all your employees as well.

  • Test your employees email security awareness level

Before beginning any cybersecurity awareness training and program, you should know what you’re starting with and how likely your staff is likely to get scammed.

Is it so bad that they’ll reply to an obvious Nigerian prince scam or a “business proposal” by “Muammar Al-Qaddafi’s daughter”? Or, does it take a more sophisticated CEO fraud to trick them?

  • Do some random tests

Even if your employees pass your initial cybersecurity awareness test with flying colors, remember that this is just a baseline and you should not rest on your laurels.

Instead, keep them on their toes by sending them fake suspicious emails from time to time and see who falls for them and who doesn’t.

This can, for instance, be in the form of simulated phishing attacks in which you’ll see how your staff responds to phishing attempts.

  • Have a clear system of reporting suspicious emails

Let’s say an employee of yours discovers a phishing email. How would they report it?

Do they raise a hand or is there a button they should press to announce their finding?

Whatever your method, you should have a way to report suspicious emails. This can be as easy as forwarding the email to a special email address, something like reportemail@company.com. That’s a feature that most modern email services already have, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to implement.

  • Employee email behavior guidelines

Most data breaches actually happen as a result of a human error and not some overly technical hacking attack.

This is why you should have a set of email rules and guidelines for your employees to follow and have it in writing. What this will do is ensure they know what to do in case they have any doubt about potential threats.

  • Online and offline lessons and courses

Having your employees attend an online or offline email security awareness training course can go a long way in educating them on how to respond to these.

Unfortunately, most companies believe this is just a waste of time and money, but in reality, you stand to lose much more if you don’t do them so it’s a good idea to even have a mandatory email security course, perhaps as a part of a cybersecurity awareness month.

  • Assign a person responsible for email security training and awareness

Finally, who is responsible for email and overall web security in your company?

As your business grows, the need for someone to handle phishing email reports and to whom employees can turn to with malicious links will grow, so make sure there is someone like that in your organization as well.

This can be a full-time position, if you find there’s a need for it, or just a part-time.

Phishing Attacks and Other Email Threats Templates

Finally, we’ll go through some email security awareness templates that you can use to increase your defense against cyber threats and decrease human error to a minimum.

Phishing Awareness Email Template

Everyone,

We would like to bring your attention to the most common type of cyber attack that can affect a business like ours – phishing.

This can take many forms, but the goal is always the same – to get you to share some sensitive information. This can be your personal information, or customer information for example.

Unfortunately, most phishing attacks are successful due to a human error, which is why we want to raise your awareness of this email threat.

Here is what you should do to avoid phishing attempts:

  1. Always inspect the email address and URL before taking any action such as replying or opening attachments
  2. If you receive an email and a shared document from an unknown sender, do not open or download it
  3. Do not give away your personal information, such as username and password over email
  4. Think twice before opening an email attachment or clicking on a link. Many contain malicious software that can infect your device and our system with it
  5. If you are unsure about a particular email, always refer to our [COMPANY PROTOCOL] about such things

Strong Password Tips Email Template

Everyone,

One of the best ways to protect yourself and our organization from cyber threats is with a strong password.

What does a bad password look like?

A bad password is:

  1. Short
  2. Includes information that is easy to guess
  3. Contains common words such as “password”
  4. Includes your own personal information or company information

What does a good password look like?

A good password on the other hand is:

  1. Long (at least 12 characters)
  2. Includes numbers and special characters and not just letters
  3. Is regularly changed
  4. Is not shared with anyone
  5. And is further protected with multi-factor authentication

We hope this helps increase your password security.

Ransomware Awareness Email Template

Everyone,

We would like to raise your awareness to a common and dangerous cyber attack that can have destructive consequences on our organization – ransomware.

Ransomware is a very popular malicious software by cyber criminals that they use to extract money from companies. We are often talking about millions of dollars worth of ransom.

Obviously, this is a huge amount for any company to pay, ours included, so here are some tips you can use to avoid ransomware:

  1. Always inspect the email address and URL before taking any action such as replying or opening attachments
  2. If you receive an email and a shared document from an unknown sender, do not open or download it
  3. Do not give away your personal information, such as username and password over email
  4. Think twice before opening an email attachment or clicking on a link. Many contain malicious software that can infect your device and our system with it
  5. If you are unsure about a particular email, always refer to our [COMPANY PROTOCOL] about such things

Conclusion

The average cost of a data breach has increased 10% just compared to the previous (2020) year.

Average Cost of a data breach
Source: UpGuard

Cyber attacks cost companies billions of dollars each year and your company is not immune to them either. However, as most email threats are the result of a human error, having email security awareness training in place will go a long way toward preventing them.

Hopefully, you can use these tips and templates to increase the email security in your organization as well.

If you are looking to further ensure the security of your emails, check out CTemplar: Armored Email. CTemplar is an end-to-end encrypted email dedicated to protecting your online privacy and security while using email.