15 Proven Email Security best Practices to Start Today

Email accounts are integral to most of our formal communication today. They also serve as a platform for personal exchanges. Given that we often share sensitive and confidential information via email, it becomes crucial to safeguard against unauthorized access by hackers or unintended parties. This is where the importance of implementing the best email security best practices comes into play. In this blog, we will discuss fifteen email security best practices. We will also share some insights as to how to effectively incorporate them into your routine.

Before we go any further, let’s dive into the very core – what is email security and why it weighs so much importance today.

What Is Email Security?

email security practices

Email security refers to the protection you have from cyber threats that specifically target email accounts. Email accounts are one of the easiest methods for attackers to gain access to a company’s cyber network. To attack email accounts, cyber criminals use various attack methods including phishing and spam.

Why Is Email Security So Important?

Ineffective email security affects hundreds of businesses. A study reveals a whopping 60% of small businesses are forced to wind up within a few months of their opening as a consequence of email hacking. As long as email remains an important channel for formal and corporate communications, email security will remain inevitable. For this, you will require the best email security solutions in place. 

Best Email Security Practices to Start Secure Communication

Email security best practices
  1. Educate your staff on email security best practices

Employees are the first group of people who often become the target of hackers in their attempt to gain access to your company’s digital network. So, educating them on the potential risks as well as steps to take in case of an attack is necessary. Conducting regular cybersecurity awareness training programs is an excellent initial step.

  1. Generate and use robust passwords

Is your password easy to guess? For example, does it start with your name or surname with a few random digits like 123? Hackers are clever enough to guess them. So, to avoid that, generate robust passwords combining numeric values, alphabets, special characters etc. This will reduce the chances of hackers guessing them.

  1. Don’t use the same passwords across multiple accounts

Using the same password across multiple accounts is convenient because you don’t have to remember many passwords or get confused about which one to use where. However, it also provides the same level of convenience to hackers. In the event that one of your accounts gets compromised, all other accounts can be compromised as well, exposing you to significant losses and irreparable damage.

  1. Change your password from time to time

Changing your email account password from time to time is an effective practice for establishing a secure email platform for your communication. This measure helps in several ways. For instance, in some cases, you may not even realize that your account has been compromised. As long as you use the same password, hackers will continue to have access to your account. Frequent password changes disrupt and prevent prolonged unauthorized access to your account.

  1. Make use of 2FA (2 Factor authentication)

Two-factor authentication or 2FA is an additional security layer you can add to your email accounts. Once enabled, you will have to authenticate your access via the 2FA to gain access to the email account besides the usual passwords. 2FA can be a device or an app or sometimes a one-time password. To get started with using 2FA for your email account, find out what type of 2FAs are supported by your email service provider. Then, go to the security settings, choose the 2FA, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the setup.

  1. Don’t ignore phishing

Most often, we ignore phishing emails, thinking that they are harmless and pose a risk only if we follow their instructions. Instead of simply deleting phishing emails, it is advisable to report them. Reporting helps train your email settings to recognize and filter out such emails, directing them to the spam folder rather than the inbox. Additionally, not reporting phishing emails can result in a flood of similar phishing attempts in your inbox.

  1. Exercise caution with email attachments 

Even if you have the protection of the best email security gateways, it is advisable to act cautiously when receiving emails containing attachments such as Word documents, PDFs, spreadsheets, or executable files like EXE, JAR, MXE, etc. Sometimes, these files may be sent by a known person in your contact list, but their account could be compromised. To ensure that you don’t fall prey to a trap, scan the files you receive for potential threats or refrain from opening them until confirming their legitimacy with the sender.

  1. Refrain from clicking email links 

When you receive emails with links to suspicious sites, it is extremely important to act cautiously. Verify the sender’s address as well as the security status of the link. For instance, check whether the link is security certified (has SSL certification). Secure links will have HTTPS at the start of them. Even while ensuring this, it is wise to verify the legitimacy of the sender or opt for alternative options.

  1. Use business and personal email accounts for their intended purposes

Ensuring the use of personal email accounts for personal purposes and business email accounts for business-related communication is crucial for avoiding various potential threats. For example, if you use your business email account for personal matters, it exposes your account to unintended individuals who are not associated with your business. Additionally, if the recipient’s account is compromised, it can introduce vulnerabilities to your business account. The same risks apply when using a personal account for business purposes.

  1. Restrict the use of corporate email accounts on approved devices

Do your employees tend to access the company email account on their personal devices? It could be a red signal for the email security practices you are trying to implement. Your employees may connect their personal devices to a multitude of ISPs, and the potential risks hidden along these ISPs could expose your secure corporate email infrastructure to various vulnerabilities. Have a strict policy in place regarding which devices can be used to access business email accounts.

  1. Ensure encryption of emails, attachments and communications

There are advanced encryption options available today to encrypt emails, attachments, and communications. TLS (Transport Layer Security), for instance, is the most common encryption standard used today, which comes with the capability to scramble your email content throughout its movement between servers until safely reaching the recipient’s hands. This means that even in the event of a hacker intercepting the email, they can’t read it

  1. Stay away from using public Wi-Fi connections

While public Wi-Fi hotspots can make your life more convenient, it is important to note that there are no threat-free public Wi-Fi networks. They can potentially risk your private data. According to reports, man-in-the-middle (MITM) type of cyber-attacks mostly occur through public Wi-Fi connections. This happens when cybercriminals gain access to these hotspots, and manipulate them to create malicious networks with the intent to steal data from individuals.

  1. Incorporate Email Security Protocol

Incorporating a robust email security protocol lies at the heart of email security best practices. These protocols guarantee that no suspicious emails make their way into your inbox. Common protocols to use are:

  • Sender Policy Framework (SPF) allows domain owners to specify which hosts or IP addresses can send emails on their behalf.
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) acts as an extension to SPF. It enables domain owners to associate themselves with a digital signature for authentication purposes.
  • Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is a mechanism that allows domain owners to instruct the recipient about the actions they could take in the event of receiving emails that do not pass SPF and DKIM.
  1. Deploy email security tools

Implementing mail security practices through the deployment of tools has become a common thing among companies that prioritize data safety today. Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) are a more convenient, cost-effective, and easy-to-deploy tool in this regard. SEGs obtained from a reliable service provider act as an effective mechanism to prevent various types of email threats, such as phishing and spam.

  1. Logout

Log out of your email account when leaving your computer for an extended period. This simple yet highly effective step is among the most popular email security best practices. Additionally, never share your email login credentials with anyone under any circumstances.


Despite numerous new means of communication such as instant messaging and VoIP, email still remains a very effective and convenient communication option today. What sets it apart is its ability to be equally suitable for both formal and informal communication.

By implementing these email security best practices, you can create a safe and secure atmosphere for your email communication. We hope that this blog has provided you with insights for a head start in using emails more safely. 

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Jim Jacob

Jim Jacob is the founder of Cyberguard. He is an IT professional who has 21 years of professional experience in the tech field. Cybergurad is the product of his vision to share the knowledge gained from his career through the power of words. He is an expert at explaining complex tech concepts in simple language and has written numerous articles on IT and Cybersecurity.

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