Emails are some of the most common forms of communication that a business uses for internal and external conversations, and consequently are some of the favorite targets of cybercriminals and thieves. Even internal emails aren’t safe from this threat: depending on the type of the industry and the potential data that can be mined from leaked or hacked emails, methods to illegally acquire emails have only gotten more sophisticated over the years.
But which industries are more vulnerable (or more attractive) to email hacking? Overall, industries that possess a large amount of data and share it via email like financial services, the medical field, and legal practices need an extensive suite of services to encrypt their emails to prevent outside access or internal leaks. By understanding how these particular industries are vulnerable to attack, it becomes easier for you to minimize risks.
Three Industries That Need To Protect Their Emails
Email encryption can take a variety of forms with multiple layers of protection, but the barest requirement is that it has to be able to disguise, encrypt, hide, or scramble an email from anyone else aside from the sender and receiver. This way, even if the email is somehow plucked from its transfer between sender or recipient, it becomes harder to pry sensitive information from its contents.
There are three industries that should always factor in emails in their IT security:
Banks, financial services, and other money-related businesses contain the majority of the world’s currencies and legal tender. As a result of the interconnected nature of financial transactions and the relative sizes of these institutions, they’re some of the most vulnerable to email-based cyberattacks.
While most monetary transactions aren’t usually done through email, there can be an astonishingly large amount of extraneous data that hackers can seize and interpolate financial details from. While the most popular method of doing this is by phishing the clients of these institutions, another way of gaining access to emails is by direct attacks on industry servers.
One reason why these attacks can be particularly effective is that while financial institutions have steadily grown over the years, the technology used by these institutions has been slower to keep up. Considering the demand for more accessible financial services using channels like mobile devices, a bank has multiple potential points of entry for criminals to break in and gain access to servers – which in turn, gives them access to data and emails.
Once inside, attackers have a variety of methods at their disposal to disrupt services like DDOS attacks and ransomware. Leaked emails can give them authentication codes, company databases, and even locations of cash deposits in your own network. By making email encryption mandatory for internal and external communications, you can effectively close this method of entry from criminals.
The medical sector has arguably one of the largest deposits of personal data today – and extremely sensitive information like this is a prime target for many cybercriminals. Because of the rapid movement of staff, patients, and other personnel through the medical sector, engineering and email-based cyberattacks on medical facilities, deposits, and other locations can be frighteningly easy.
Given that most patients and doctors prefer to communicate by email, there’s a veritable data mine of information that hackers can glean from simply piggybacking the email of a medical institution. Adding to the fact that medical institutes regularly communicate with one another or across different sectors, the emails of the medical sector can prove to be extremely valuable in the right hands.
Unlike financial services, it’s often social engineering or simply carelessness that makes email-based attacks on this sector so effective. Nurses and doctors, in particular, may not always have the self-awareness to conduct their emails with security in mind at the end of their shifts: and the sheer volume of emails that a medical institute may receive in a single day alone makes manual encryption or close attention to security protocols difficult.
This is why one of the best solutions for email encryption for the medical sector is to partner with a provider that can automate the email encryption process, and provide additional protections to cover any potential gaps in email security. With the right provider, you’ll be able to communicate securely without the added hassle of maintaining an IT system to protect your emails.
As intermediaries in disputes, consultants with high-profile and mundane cases, or advisors on sensitive laws, the legal sector goes through plenty of emails in its daily operations. Given that clients are not always careful about protecting sensitive information in their emails to legal practices, it falls on the legal sector itself to take steps to prevent any email leaks.
This is especially crucial if the practice or organization has extensive communication and/or business with other legal practices. Since the networks of the legal sector are closely linked with one another, the overall security of a network of firms will always depend on the security of the weakest one in their network. Given the multiple methods of entry that cybercriminals can use to gain access to a legal practice’s server, consistent security across a practice’s entire IT system is a must-have.
One particular vulnerability that attackers can exploit is the varying degrees of software and hardware standards in the legal industry. While plenty of legal practices and businesses have transitioned to newer methods of keeping information digitally, their security practices have lagged behind. This means that it’s technically possible for an attacker to gain access to more secure servers by infiltrating through less secure channels, either via outdated software or old hardware. With such an interconnected IT system, exploits are extremely easy to find.
The best way a legal practice can avoid this is by ensuring that their protection strategies – not just email encryption – are up to date. This can be done by making sure that any software is consistently up to date so they have access to all the latest security features, and replacing any outdated hardware once the needs of the business or the practice render it obsolete. Practicing email etiquette is also an effective way of making sure that emails are more likely to stay secure.
While these practices don’t represent all of the businesses that are vulnerable to email attacks, they are industries that can stand to benefit from extensive email encryption. If your business, company, or organization belongs to these industries and doesn’t have email encryption in place, we recommend going through the free trial of the Zix email encryption software.
With features like content filtering and data loss prevention, it becomes easier for you to send and receive emails without the fear of them being intercepted and stolen. Real-time protection and automated processes make the process of sending a secure email as easy as possible, with no hassle to either sender or recipient.
Encrypt Your Emails And Secure Your Data With Abacus Managed IT Services
Email encryption is an often-underlooked part of IT security that can play a huge role in determining how well-protected a business’s IT systems are. While there are some internal changes that a business can make with how it handles its emails, one of the best ways to ensure that they’re well–protected against internal leaks and outside access is by using a service that can securely encrypt them from end to end. And while there are industries that may require this type of security more than others, email encryption should always be within the best practices of a company.
Abacus IT Managed Services has extensive experience in end-to-end encryption of company communications, including emails. Our services are specialized for banks and other companies in the financial sector, helping them improve their IT infrastructure to make sure that their data is secure. Contact us today for more information about our services.