For many businesses, email serves as the primary form of communication. It serves as a marketing tool and means of communication with customers enabling you to share private company information.
As a result, it is one of the most vulnerable to attack by cybercriminals who are constantly looking for new ways to gain access to private data.
Your email security can be compromised in so many ways. With access to your system, hackers may steal personal information about your clients or even send them malicious emails from your IP, which would undermine their trust in you.
As a result, your reputation may suffer and also result in financial losses.
All emails are stored on a network by an email server, which is a remote central server for email users. Maintaining the security of your email server is crucial because every email that is sent or received goes through the server. Every firm needs to ensure that its email servers are safe. By using a secure email server, you may prevent unauthorized access to your email domain and its data.
Why a healthy and secure email server is important
- It prevents unauthorized individuals from sending emails from your company’s domain.
- It guarantees email security for both in transit and inbox storage for your staff
- It safeguards the network that authorized users to utilize to access email services
Now that we know what email servers are and why keeping them secure is vital, let’s take a closer look at some of the typical dangers that we protect email servers from.
Threats to your email server
Malware is any malicious program or code that is detrimental to systems and has the power to take partial control of a device’s operation. When an email server becomes infected, the entire system’s stability is jeopardized.
Spam is the unsolicited bulk distribution of junk emails for commercial purposes. Spam emails can do a lot of harm to your company. They usually contain malicious messages or confidential customers’ information, causing them to lose trust in you. Receiving these spam emails might potentially interfere with users’ productivity.
Phishing is an attack that seeks to steal your money or identity by tricking you into disclosing personal information.
Phishing attacks result in data breaches, which result in financial loss, intellectual property loss, reputational damage, and interruption of operational activities. These impacts combine to generate a loss of firm value, sometimes with irreversible consequences.
Spoofing is a type of cybercrime in which someone impersonates a trusted contact or brand to get access to sensitive personal information.
5). Business email compromise
In this case, the hacker poses as the CEO of a company or another high-ranking person. In this scenario, the hacker is monitoring staff patterns to make the email appear more real. In the process, there is a successful fraud to steal anything from money to personal data.
6). DoS attacks
A denial of service (DoS) attack is an attempt to bring a machine or network to a halt, rendering it unreachable to its intended users.
If a DoS attack successfully takes a website offline, it could result in lost income, compromised data, and reputational damage to your company.
Now that we’ve covered the risks that can infect your email server, let’s look at how you can notice and detect malicious attacks on your email server.
How to spot malicious emails
01). Errors in spelling and grammar suggest fraud
If you detect spelling and grammatical mistakes in an email, it could be a sign of fraud. Someone who is not from your industry may not be familiar with the spelling of several key terms. The sender of such emails may be attempting to entice you to take advantage of your business.
02). Urgent and sensitive information requests
Always think twice if you receive an email requesting urgent actions. When someone has a critical issue that requires rapid attention, they normally address it in person or over the phone, otherwise, it is a sign of malicious email.
03). Suspicious email address
Always double-check the sender’s address because cyber fraudsters trick you with minor details. They can either omi or add a character to persuade you that it’s real
04). Suspicious links and attachments
If you receive an email with an unusual attachment or link that asks you to open or click on it, it is most likely infected with malware. Check the URL before opening it or clicking on the link to ensure it is genuine
05). Data verification requests
In case you receive an email asking you to verify, evaluate, check or confirm any of your data, the email must certainly contain malware. As a result, it is critical to confirm the sender’s address before proceeding.
The best practices for keeping your email server healthy and secure
Nobody wants to lose money, have their reputation harmed, or have their data compromised. As a result, it is critical to ensure the health and security of your email server.
The following are some email server security practices that help you minimize risks and feel confident that your data is safe on a secure email server.
Email security is the process of protecting against email risks to ensure the availability, integrity, and authenticity of email communications
#1. Modify your email default settings
Many organizations make the mistake of not taking the time to adjust the default settings and configurations of their servers. If the server’s login and passwords are not changed to be sufficiently strong, it is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other compromises
#2. Install SSL/TLS certificates on your server
SSL stands for secure socket layer while TLS stands for transport layer security. They are installed for security measures.
Installing SSL on your server encrypts communications between your email server and other email servers with whom it interfaces. No one can intercept communications in this way. SSL certificates are also used for user authentication.
#3. Update and upgrade software regularly
Regularly updating the software on a server makes it difficult for hackers to disrupt your system. Furthermore, upgrading your system is critical since hackers can simply access your server and steal valuable and secret data if obsolete software is used. However, the system should not do these updates automatically because it can be risky.
#4. Configure and maintain a firewall
A firewall is software that blocks unauthorized network access. Installing a firewall on your server ensures maximum security. A firewall prevents external dangers from gaining access to your server. It monitors all network traffic and can detect and block malicious traffic
#5. Configure relay controls
Limit the domains and IP address groups for which your server is allowed to transmit emails to prevent unauthorized usage of your email system.
Allowing all open relays may expose your system to security risks since fraudsters utilize them to transmit malicious emails.
#6. Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an option that in addition to your email and passwords adds an extra layer of security to your private email account.
2FA is critical for web security since it eliminates the risks associated with compromised passwords immediately. If your password is compromised, the hacker will be unable to access your server.
#7. Email authentication standards
Email authentication is the technique through which email servers determine whether an incoming email is valid or fraudulent. The most commonly used email authentication standards are DMARC, DKIM, and SPF.
DMARC stands for domain-based message authentication, reporting, and conformance. It is a standard email authentication technique that allows you to specify what to do with outbound messages from your organization that does not pass SPF or DKIM. it also provides reports from receivers to senders.
DKIM stands for DomainKeys identified mail. It includes a digital signature to ensure that the receiving mail server recognizes the sender.
SPF stands for sender policy framework. It identifies the servers and domains that are permitted to send emails on your behalf.
#8. Activate reverse DNS lookup
A reverse domain name system (DNS) lookup is used by email servers to determine where a message originated and to ensure that it is not spam. If the sender’s IP address does not match the host and domain names, DNS blocks malicious senders.
#9. Server security audits
Conducting server security audits will assist you in identifying potential server vulnerabilities. Being aware of these penalties aids in the configuration of attack surfaces in the system.
#10. Educate users on how to keep their accounts safe
Implementing all of these practices while failing to educate your users about cyber security can be a waste of time. Every employee and network user is responsible for safeguarding account credentials.
As a result, it is critical to educate users on the threats, how to identify them, and the best practices for keeping their accounts secure.
Customers, users, and other stakeholders are putting their confidence in you to protect their data.
Cybercriminals and rivals are constantly looking for ways to gain access to the data on your email server.
Implementing the practices mentioned above will ensure that your email server is healthy and secure.