When electronic mail (aka: email) was first widely introduced back in the 1990s, it completely revolutionized the way we communicate. Now, instead of waiting days for letters, we could send information instantly across long distances.
Fast forward to 2019, and email is ingrained in every office as the key method of communication. Workers spend an average of 28% of their week reading and answering emails.
But email’s popularity has also led to it being inundated with phishing scams and spam emails, dragging down productivity and causing other critical issues like potential data breaches and network virus infections.
Scammers know they can get prime real estate in front of a computer user by sending them an email.
We’ve seen the damage that unchecked email can do to offices, from filling up inboxes with time-consuming spam to causing security incidents due to phishing attacks that trick users. Technology Visionaries helps our clients in New Jersey reclaim their inboxes with our email/spam protection service.
Costs of Spam & Phishing Email
Phishing remains the #1 cause of data breaches, with 90% of them being traced back to phishing emails which are disguised to look like they’re from a legitimate source. Their entire purpose is getting the user to click on a malicious link or download a dangerous attachment.
66% of organizations have experienced a phishing attack within the last year alone.
While phishing is a huge security risk for businesses, spam is a drag on office productivity, filling up inboxes and taking a significant amount of that 28% of time spent by workers on email each week.
Spam messages account for more than half (53.5%) of all email sent worldwide.
But you don’t have to relegate yourself to these inbox intrusions, there are several things you can do to minimize spam and phishing emails coming into your organization.
Tips for Tacking Spam and Phishing Emails
In order to avoid the costs of spam and phishing emails, it’s best to take a multi-pronged approach and incorporate as many of these tactics as possible to keep your organization’s inboxes protected.
We’ll begin with the “outer ring” of protection and then move in to user-based tips, all working together can significantly reduce your email-related costs and data breach risks.
1. Anti-Spam/Phishing Software
The first line of defense against these email inbox intrusions is a reliable software solution that catches spam and phishing messages before your users have to deal with them.
Some of the key benefits of the software solution Technology Visionaries offers are:
- Preventing viruses, malware, and other online threats
- Safeguarding your email and business
- Streamlining business processes by offloading storage needs
- Simplifying email searching
- Email attachment scanning safeguards
2. Use an Anti-Malware/Antivirus Program
If one of your staff accidentally clicks a malicious link or downloads a virus hidden in an attachment, having an anti-malware/antivirus program on your computers and server can help catch it before it does any damage. This is an important layer of protection that can quarantine a threat before it makes it way to other devices on your network.
3. Spam Filters
Many email providers offer a form of spam filtering that will place email in a “spam” or “junk” folder. The key is to take time to train the filter for it to be most effective. Many users don’t properly train them to distinguish between spam and email and just leave them on “automatic,” causing legitimate messages to sometimes get filtered as spam.
4. Ask Before Displaying Images
While it can be convenient to automatically have email images load, it’s something spammers and phishers use to track whether you’ve opened their email or not. If your email address indicates an open, they know it’s a good address, and even more spam and phishing emails can follow.
Use your email settings to “ask before displaying images” which will give you one more click to load the images on each message, but also can save you from being tagged for more spam in the future.
5. Keep Your Devices Updated and Patched
Ah, those pesky updates and patches, they can really add up and before you know it, you have multiple office computers that are several versions behind. Operating system and software updates and patches are vital to healthy IT security. We can help with our managed IT services that take care of proactive maintenance, including updates/patches, so you never have to worry whether there’s a weak link in your technology security.
6. Use Images for Email Addresses on Your Site
Cybercriminals that send phishing and spam emails just love when you list all your team’s email addresses on your website in plain text. This allows their automatic scrapers to scoop them up and add them to their email list that they use and/or sell to others. If you use an image of an email address on your website, rather than writing it in plain text, that can help reduce your chance of having all your company emails end up on spam lists.
7. Ongoing User Training
While you may be pretty savvy when it comes to spotting a phishing email, not everyone has the same experience or knowledgebase. Doing regular phishing awareness and cybersecurity training for your staff goes a long way towards reducing your risk that someone on your team will get fooled and click on a malicious link.
Would You Like a Free Security Assessment?
How is your IT security standing up? Do you have any weak spots that need improvement? Get a free security assessment today from Technology Visionaries!
We’ll do a full review and give you any needed steps to take to protect yourself. Schedule yours online or call us at 732-587-5960.