Email security can be tricky. Occasionally clients will come to us with questions about how best to use their email system, and how to prevent security breaches. We’ve gathered some of our best email security tips below, and we hope it helps you keep your business running smoothly.
Once you have your email system ironed out and you’re ready to start building your business with email, let us know.
1. Stop Spam & Phishing Emails In Their Tracks
The best way to stop spam and phishing emails is to educate yourself and your employees on what to look for.
Phishing and spam techniques relies on getting you to trust the sender. Usually they do this by using an email domain – the @examplecompany.com portion of the email address – which looks like a reputable company. Common examples might be: @amazon-z.com, @amazon.net, @ama-zon.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com etc.
They’ll usually ask you to click on a link because they need to verify information on your account. The link usually takes you to a website which is a good copy of the company you’re expecting; similar color schemes, fonts, buttons and logos. Once you’re there, they expect you to put in your user name, password and/or account or social security number.
Your best bet is to notice these email address discrepancies and don’t click on anything in the email. Once you’ve arrived at their site, they may have already downloaded malware which can further compromise your system without you having to take a single action.
Instead, train your email filter to notice these things. Select the checkbox next to the message and choose whatever option your email provider gives you to identify the message as spam. In Gmail, this would be the “Report Spam” button. This helps your email provider realize the domain is a spam sender, and it will attempt to stop those in the future.
2. Check for Confidential Content
You might be the most careful person in the world, but are your employees? Make sure you have clear expectations in place about what can be transferred via email and what can’t.
Social security numbers, account information, banking information, usernames and passwords should never be sent via email. Also make sure your employees know that you and the companies or financial institutions you work with will never ask for this information via email, or via a phone number given to them via email. Always call an institution directly to a trusted number you’ve used in the past.
3. Create An Email Security Policy
Your employees might not know how best to handle a spam email, or not to send out certain confidential emails. That’s why you want to make sure you have a detailed email security policy in place. There are many sample policies out there you can go through and customize to your own needs, like this one from Tech Donut.
4. Block Certain Senders
Sometimes, your employee might try to send an email to a bunch of recipients at once with the To:, Cc: or Bcc: field. These types of emails can expose your clients to each other, which is something they may not want.
It can also accidentally expose confidential information, such as names, email addresses and other information to a wider audience, and can be constituted as spam in certain cases. Since you don’t want to cause spam yourself, you can request that your the company which controls your email server block anyone at your company from sending emails with more than 15 recipients or something similar.
As well, you can block senders coming into your system. Emails with attachments larger than 10MB can slow down your entire network, or not be delivered at all. Set a policy at your server level to block incoming and outgoing emails with attachments larger than 10MB, and to notify the sender and provide an alternate method of sending the file, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
5. Archive Emails
Make sure that you keep a backup of your emails so if a disaster should occur you can still revert to your backup. Check if your server provides a backup, and if so how often. You can also create a backup yourself using an external hard drive and a backup schedule if you feel it’s necessary.
Hopefully these tips have helped you secure your business emails. When you’re confident enough to start advertising your business through email, contact us!
Email marketing can seem like an extremely tricky business, even though email has been around for decades now. And how do you even begin to approach building a list to start emailing to?
We’re sure you have a lot of questions, and hopefully this list helps you get started with your email marketing efforts. When you’re ready for the next stop, contact us!
1. Don’t Buy Email Lists
There are two ways to get an email list: buy it, or build it yourself. In reality, buying an email list is as good as buying nothing at all.
First, if you’re planning to use a reputable email marketing service – i.e. MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. – they will not allow you to use a purchased list. That should be a huge flashing neon sign that buying an email list is a mistake, but there are more reasons.
Second, good email lists aren’t for sale. The only email lists which are for sale are those which are being sold to a bunch of different companies, and have likely been stolen or forgot to uncheck a box when subscribing for something else. That means the owners of the addresses are being inundated with emails from companies doing the same thing you are: looking for an easy sale.
Lastly – though there are many good reasons – your email deliverability and IP reputation can be seriously harmed. Purchased email lists tend to have a lot of blocked email addresses which bounce instead of delivering. If you email to a bunch of bouncing email addresses, the IP address of that target email may begin to identify you as a spammer. Once you’ve been identified as a spammer, it can take months or years to build up your company’s reputation again.
2. Only Market To Those Who Subscribe
How would you like to receive an email from a company you’ve never heard of before? You’d probably delete it without opening it, or take one look and hit unsubscribe. People who haven’t opted-in to receive your emails are going to react the same way.
That’s why you need to build an email marketing list organically, so people willingly give you their email address because they’re genuinely interested in what you have to say.
How To Get Subscribers
Do this by offering webinars, ebooks, templates and other content behind a ‘gate’, where if they want the content they need to offer you their name, email address and possibly some other identifying information.
If you’re a software company, you might build an online tool people can use, but request their information before their first use.
Also, be sure to include a “Forward To A Friend” link at the bottom of all of your marketing emails, as people who already subscribe may be your best way of getting new subscribers.
3. Use A Reputable Service
Remember earlier when we talked about Constant Contact and MailChimp? These reputable email marketing services make it easy to generate and send out creative, eye-catching emails to your entire list, and manage your list as well.
Companies like these provide expertise and knowledge for you to lean on in their “Help” or “Knowledge Base” sections, which can be a boon when trying to navigate the world of email marketing without the help of a digital marketing firm.
4. Make It Easy To Unsubscribe
This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s important to make it easy to unsubscribe from your emails. If you don’t provide an unsubscribe link somewhere easy to get to on your marketing emails, that person might end up reporting you as spam which can hurt your ability to do any email marketing at all.
It’s much better to let contacts come and go in peace. They may come back when you have something of more interest to them one day, and you don’t want to ruin that relationship.
5. Implement Re-engagement
Now, if you have someone on your list who hasn’t opened an email from you in a long time, but haven’t gone through the trouble of unsubscribing. Even if they don’t report you as spam, if someone just immediately deletes your email this also hurts your reputation.
What you need to do is re-engage those subscribers. Do so by emailing those specific subscribers with an email acknowledging that they haven’t opened or clicked on your emails in a long time, and asking if they would simply opt-in again if they’d like to stay subscribed. This provides them the opportunity to stay engaged, and those who don’t opt-in can be removed from your list.
6. Quality Over Quantity
Remember, in email marketing it’s all about quality over quantity. A highly-engaged, small group of subscribers is infinitely more effective for your marketing efforts than a thousands-strong list of people who never look at your creative marketing emails.
Hopefully these tips can help you in managing your email marketing efforts. When you need additional help advertising your business via email, contact us!