How SMBs Are at Risk and What They Can Do About It
Remember when Hillary Clinton’s emails were hacked? Or Sony Pictures? How about at the end of 2017 when hackers accessed the networks of credit-reporters Equifax and 140 million Americans found out their sensitive information had been stolen? Every few months, a major email hack hits the news. But here’s the thing: only the high-profile attacks hit the news. The email hacking and data breaches that happen to SMBs don’t happen any less—in fact, they happen more—they just appear less often in the headlines. So much of our business is conducted over email: From automatically generated sales flows with customer data to transactional emails with financial data, to medical appointment reminders that are tied to patient records, how do you know you’re secure?
Email is one of the most common ways for your data to be breached. You’ll notice that bank and credit card statements are never emailed directly, nor are completed Federal forms. This is because email is not, on its own, secure. Email messages can be read or copied as they travel over networks, whether or not someone has the account password. Even if you take all the precautions to encrypt on your end, the recipients’ servers may not be encrypted, just because yours are. Open wi-fi networks, vulnerable SS7 protocols, spying apps—plenty everyday network situations put you at risk of having your valuable data stolen.
Keeping your communication secure, maintaining secure data storage, and using secure messaging are crucial for protecting your business reputation, your customer’s privacy and security, and ensuring compliance with government regulations—all of which matter to your bottom line.
Why SMBs Need Secure Messaging
You might be doing everything in your power to secure your information while it’s static—secure servers, secure machines, secure premise—but once your data is on the move, it faces whole new threats. Just because your network is secure doesn’t mean those who receive your transmissions are using a secured network or secure device. When you need to send information via text, email, or app—especially financial, personal, medical or any other kind you’re legally required to keep secure—there are new problems.
A 2015 joint study conducted by researchers at Google, the University of Illinois Urbana Champagne, and the University of Michigan analyzed over 700,000 mail servers and found major loopholes that make it possible for hackers to reroute emails to their own servers. If any of your clients use Gmail, that study showed that upwards of 1 in 5 messages faced hacking attempts.
Barracuda Encrypted Messaging: How It Works
Barracuda Encrypted Messaging offers inbound and outbound filtering as well as secure transmission of messages. The cloud-based service protects from common spam and viruses by catching them before they even arrive to your system’s firewall—and it does all this without being a drain on your other systems. You don’t have to compromise performance to get security.
There is inbound and outbound spam filtering, as well as options for content filtering and outbound encryption services. You’ll never get another request from a Nigerian Prince with a medical emergency and a convenient offshore account where you can transfer money immediately—and you’ll never accidentally send one again, either.
The outbound filtering is key because it prevents your company from being put on spam block lists or leaking sensitive data through malware. The entire organization's email goes through the system, and you can even set up secure transmission defaults for particular departments, like Finance and Records.
There’s also a Microsoft Outlook add-in for outbound communication that creates a 1-click encryption for specific emails, and automatically adds a tagline to let the recipient know it’s a secure transmission. Administration is very simple and flexible, and you can easily create custom rules in addition to the automated inbound scanning.
The Bottom Line:
Leveraging secure servers, enterprise-grade spam filtering and anti-virus protection like Barracuda, and advanced encryption for your corporate emails isn’t just for big business. While someone like Yahoo or Instagram can come back from a security breach, the loss of credibility for an SMB can be financially devastating, and you can waste thousands of dollars in downtime should a virus or malware infect your system. The business of an SMB often operates on relational currency that depends on credibility and customer security. Consider going the extra mile to make your communication secure.