Email Security Compliance: What is it, and why should your Business invest in it?

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Email Security Compliance
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Email has always remained the most prominent means of communication for business. It is also the fastest, cheapest, and most accessible. Because of its popularity and accessibility, email is also the most vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which is why email security compliance is a critical component of your overall compliance and cybersecurity strategy. This is where the concept of email security compliance comes into action.

Email security ensures that the data transmitted through the mode of email stays safe. Email security compliance is about ensuring the transmitted data meets the requirements of the governing and regulatory bodies involved in the process.

Below, we explore email security compliance and why it is essential for businesses.

What is Email Security Compliance?

Email is an efficient, fast, and simple way to carry out business communication, but it is not secure. Anybody can intercept and access the contents of the email, not just the intended recipient. Many emails are sent daily, many of which contain sensitive information.

This data is often like low-hanging fruit for disgruntled employees and cybercriminals. Numerous incidents of email breaches show why every organization should focus on email privacy and security.

Fortunately, governments and regulatory bodies have introduced data privacy regulations like CCPA, GDPR, and PCI DSS to protect individuals and businesses. These agencies regulate and monitor the data security policies implemented by organizations.

As an extensive amount of sensitive and personal information is transmitted over email, email security compliance is vital for businesses.

RELATED: Data Privacy vs Data Security: Which Should You Prioritize?

Every business aims to leverage email marketing to promote products/services and scale operations. This is why knowing about the laws governing email before getting started is essential.

Data privacy regulations designed to protect sensitive information generally prohibit businesses from sharing such data through email without proper security measures like encryption, data retention, access control, reporting, etc.

Failure to have such technologies in place results in non-compliance and can attract severe consequences.

Top Regulatory Frameworks for Email Security

Businesses can put sensitive and personal information at risk of cyberattacks when sent through email. Governments and agencies across the world define specific regulations to prevent such incidents.

RELATED: Top Cybersecurity Frameworks designed to help businesses reduce risks

Organizations that use any form of email marketing must follow these guidelines to comply with email security laws. The primary regulatory bodies and frameworks governing email security compliance are:

  • HIPAA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act is a law introduced to protect patient information related to medication, health, etc., handled by healthcare providers and services
  • GDPR – This is a European law regulating data privacy and security for businesses in the European Union
  • SOC 2 – SOC 2 (Service Organization Control) was introduced by the AICPA to provide security and compliance standards for business privacy, integrity, security, and confidentiality
  • CASL – CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) is a law protecting individuals and businesses from technology misuse and digital threats
  • CAN-SPAM – The United Nations first introduced this law to regulate commercial email and email marketing. Read more here

Best Practices to Ensure Email Security Compliance

Email security compliance is neither rocket science nor an easy affair. The ideal way to get started with an effective email compliance strategy is to audit the current system concerning the regulations.

At the end of the audit, you can identify the risks and devise a strategy that helps comply with email security regulations.

Create and implement compliant email procedures for the organization

A vital component of an effective email security compliance strategy is training and educating employees about data security and how to send sensitive data through email safely.

Make sure they realize the importance of security practices like logging out of the device when going away from it. You should also consider training them on techniques like two-factor authentication and encryption of hard drives that keep their devices protected.

Additionally, employees need to understand the potential risks of unsecured networks.

RELATED: 5 Types Of Phishing Attacks & How They Work

Integrate business governance into email

Work with your IT team to blend the rules of your business governance with corporate email. This will help prevent employees from sharing sensitive data with unauthorized parties through an email, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches to a great extent.

Audit email compliance periodically

An excellent way to ensure that your business email remains compliant and secure is to conduct periodic audits to identify areas that fail to comply. This will help you build a strategy that works well with your existing data protection practices.

RELATED: Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Best Practices to Strengthen Your Data Security

Retain documents

Some data security regulations require retaining some documents for specific periods. You may have to retain email communications. For example, if you work with patients, your server should be able to do this.

When using email marketing for your business, you are responsible for taking ownership of your campaign even if you have outsourced it. Educating employees, assessing rules applicable to your business, and following the latest trends in the industry are some of the best ways to ensure email security compliance.

RELATED: Workplace Cybersecurity: How to ensure all employees take responsibility for Cyber Security in the workplace

Tips to Create an Effective Email Security Compliance Strategy

Setting up an email security compliance strategy is crucial for any business. This not only helps you stay safe against the increasing number of incidents of cyberattacks but also allows you to avoid legal infringements and penalties.

Here are some valuable tips you can follow while creating a strategy for email security compliance.

  • Learn about the data security laws applying to your business
  • Be aware of industry-specific data security regulations
  • Understand the global security compliance landscape
  • Have a compliant email archiving solution in place
  • Make sure users can give consent for using their data in any form
  • Use a dedicated IP address to send newsletters
  • Update your subscriber list regularly
  • Schedule data audits at regular intervals
  • Allow the subscribers to opt-in and out whenever they want
  • Make use of strong authentication protocols and web security techniques

The most important aspect is to understand why compliance is necessary. Complying with security regulations is essential, and so is protecting personal and sensitive information shared through email every day by your business.

When you know what is at risk, you start seeing how important it is to protect data transmitted via email.

Email Security Compliance: Next Steps

For today’s businesses, email is a vital communication tool. But what if your email security is compromised?

As the center of business communication for most organizations, ensuring email security compliance is paramount and vital to any organization’s data and cyber security strategy.

Establishing email security best practices within your organization, regardless of the size of your business, can help prevent attacks and data breaches. This is crucial to building trust in your organization’s operations, employees, and customers.

Even the most well-prepared company can be caught off guard by an email compromise. Implementing multiple email security best practices, such as those described above, can help minimize potential vulnerabilities and threats to ensure strong email security.

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