How to Protect Your Business From Phishing Emails

Threats to enterprises have evolved significantly over the decades. Today, cyber risks far outweigh the conventional perils that jeopardized a company’s security and sustainability half a century ago.

Among them, email phishing ranks high, so much so that it has now become a critical concern for 90% of IT professionals at businesses.

But what exactly does your company stand to lose due to a malicious email, and, more importantly, how can you safeguard your enterprise, its data, and stakeholders from an inevitable email phishing attack? Keep reading to learn more.

Email Phishing: The Very Real Risks

A phishing email is an attempt to mislead a business or an individual to reveal identifiable or compromising information that a criminal could exploit to their advantage.

Such communications could strive to elicit your business account passwords, financial data, bank account details, business plans, proprietary designs, patented formulas, and a variety of other information that should ideally be kept confidential.

To obtain them, scammers often use a combination of targeted emails and impersonation techniques designed to mislead and trick employees.

Falling for such a phishing scam could be detrimental to a business and may result in costly consequences.

Identity theft and financial fraud are typical outcomes of email phishing. When proprietary information is compromised, a company’s competitive edge could also suffer.

Data and financial scam scandals could tarnish business reputation, too, eroding stakeholder trust.

How Can You Protect Your Business From Phishing Emails?

The good news is that your enterprise can prevent email phishing with simple precautionary measures. Let’s take a look at the essential steps to keep a company safe from these unscrupulous attacks.

Adopt Verification Techniques

Authenticating emails is the single most important step for identifying and avoiding malicious emails.

If you don’t recognize the email sender, a reverse email lookup can help unearth more information, from a name and location to workplace details. Ensure what you discover matches the content of the email.

Sometimes, an email can appear to originate from a familiar source, such as a customer, vendor, or a senior company executive. In such instances, if you are required to respond or take action that could potentially put you or your business at risk, reach out to the email sender using a verified contact number to confirm the email’s content.

Remaining alert to warning signs of scams is also vital. These can include typos, phrases, or language that may seem unusual for the relevant person.

Typos in the email address could also signal fraud.

Ignore Unverified Email Links and Attachments

Links and attachments are widely used phishing techniques in email-led scams.

A malicious link, for example, could direct you to a spoofed website to extract confidential data, such as account passwords. Attachments, on the other hand, can download malware that phishes for information from your devices.

Deploy Email Spam Filters

Email service providers offer filters to automatically detect and block risky emails using terms and phrases common among scam- and spam-related communications.

You can also add extra filters by inputting specific keywords you want to avoid to prevent phishing emails from reaching your inbox.

If you are unsure how to set this up, speak to your IT team for support.

Educate Your Employees

Phishing emails rely on exploiting vulnerabilities in human nature rather than those in security infrastructure. Therefore, generating awareness and conducting training sessions on cybersecurity is critical for equipping your employees to avoid these scams.

For example, explain the prevalence of impersonations and why it is crucial to practice caution with unexpected email requests, even when they seem to originate from familiar individuals.

Deploy Data Protection Policies

Security policies and frameworks allow you to set up consistent practices and protocols to prevent phishing threats and minimize their impact.

They will also provide your employees with essential guidance on accepted business practices and those to avoid.

Ideally, policies should cover password security, information sharing, access controls, and other critical aspects to protect business data.

You could also enforce them with vendors and business partners, where possible, to reduce third-party threats.

Install a Reliable Virus Guard

Criminals can use malware to phish for critical information or deploy a virus to cause greater damage with the help of what was already extracted during a prior email phishing attack.

But when you have anti-virus software, you can identify and block malicious code before it creates harm.

Enable Automatic Software Updates

From your operating systems and mobile apps to word-processing programs, all software products in your devices need regular updates to ensure they are capable of fighting against new kinds of cyber threats.

The easiest way to keep them up-to-date without much hassle is by enabling automatic updates.

Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication

If your password is compromised as a result of email phishing, multi-factor authentication can help safeguard your online accounts with extra layers of verifications.

For example, you can apply a single-use security code to prevent scammers from accessing an account, even when they have your username and password.

Backup Data Regularly

Taking frequent backups helps smoothen the recovery process if any of your business accounts, files, or devices are compromised following an email phishing attack.

Use a VPN

Activating a virtual private network is essential, especially when you connect to public Wi-Fi networks. It will allow you to conceal your online activities, making it difficult for cybercriminals to extract information by exploiting unsecured internet connections.

Key Takeaways

Any business, regardless of its scale, can experience email phishing.

A single phishing attack could expose your enterprise to identity theft and financial fraud, while risking its competitive position and causing significant reputational damage.

However, detecting and preventing such threats is easier with the right precautionary measures.

Adopting verification techniques, avoiding unverified links and attachments, activating email spam filters, installing anti-malware protection, enabling software updates, setting up multi-factor authentication, and using a VPN is critical for this.

Employee training, airtight data protection and security policies, and regular data backups are other critical aspects to focus on to protect your business from email phishing.