We all get unwanted email - it seems like the more we try to avoid it, the more we receive. Messages from marketers, friends, coworkers, clients and prospects compete for attention in overly crowded email folders. Meanwhile, many emails never make it to the inbox to be read; these emails often become trapped in spam filters. IT support experts are continuously redefining ways to prevent spam from hitting the inbox. The following three tips, when done consistently, are guaranteed to improve your email delivery rates.
Software giant Microsoft regularly launches new IT solutions that assist small and medium businesses to operate more efficiently. In celebration of efficiency, we've examined what we believe to be the biggest strengths of the Washington-based company's most recent generation of its workplace productivity suite: Office 2013.
The practice of email encryption (turning a message into code before sending it beyond the network) has become standard protocol for the majority of email transactions today. This practice can be seen in both the private and public sectors, but it is especially prevalent within public organizations - where 83% of federal agencies have policies allowing employees to encrypt emails.
Encryption -- turning a message into code before sending for security reasons -- has become standard protocol for sending the majority of email transmissions today. This trend can be seen in both the private and public sectors, but it is especially the case in the public sector, where 83% of federal agencies have policies allowing employees to encrypt emails.
While this sounds like a positive development, unfortunately, encryption is a double-edged sword. Encrypting messages does add a significant level of security, as encrypted messages have to be unencrypted, which takes time and makes them much less valuable to hackers. But emails that users encrypt at their desktop before sending cannot be subjected to any kind of content verification by network security, which makes it almost impossible to trace unauthorized data transmissions. In practice, the encryption that is used to guarantee the security of data actually becomes a method to send unauthorized data undetected through the email gateway.
The Encryption Conundrum
This encryption conundrum puts IT managers between a rock and a hard place. Nobody wants to give up the high level of security provided by encrypting employee emails, but IT security experts almost all say that significantly more unauthorized data is lost from networks by email than flash drive, disc or any other method.
The problem is just going to grow as more businesses and agencies move to encrypting most or all of their email traffic. A recent study suggested that over 80% of IT security managers were concerned about loss of sensitive data through encrypted email.
Advanced Email Security Technology
The only way to effectively solve this encryption conundrum is with advanced email security technology. Thorough training of employees on encryption protocols and other software analytics methods will help control the loss of sensitive data through encrypted emails, but these measures will not thwart a smart and resourceful individual.
To be sure that no one is sending out unauthorized data in encrypted emails, IT managers must have the ability to unencrypt files before they are routed to your Exchange server for outbound transmission. This is obviously a more laborious and time consuming process, but protocols can be set up so that only certain messages or a certain percentage of messages are unencrypted before outbound transmission.
This kind of advanced email security takes some significant expertise to set up properly. Federal agencies will likely staff up their IT departments and take on the task in-house. But that idea can be a little daunting for small and medium-sized businesses. Small and medium businesses should consider working with a high-end local IT services provider to get the results they want. Learn more about how to secure your email from a data leak.
The holiday season is just around the corner, and it's time to start thinking about what to wish for. Some IT managers and CIO's will be asking for a new iPhone 5 or iPad Mini this holiday season, but smart IT administrators want only one thing - to keep holiday-related spam from clogging their email Exchange servers!
Explosion of Spam
Once upon a time, the word ‘spam’ referred to a food product that elicited strong reactions, both positive and negative. Now, the term is more frequently used to refer to unwanted bulk emails, and very few individuals indeed have anything positive to say about this abuse of a major means of internet communication. Fortunately for businesses and other organizations that use email as an integral part of their operations, there are a number of tools that IT support staff can put in place to combat this plague of the modern age.
One of the most powerful cloud solutions to come along in recent years is the advent of cloud email services.
The need for robust IT solutions became ever more clear this week when none other than internet giant Google announced that it would be alerting specific users that their Gmail accounts may be become the target of determined hacking attacks. Eric Grosse, speaking as Google's vice president in charge of security engineering, made the announcement on the firm's official security blog: "When we have specific intelligence, either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts, we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors." It is believed that the need for a warning has been prompted by an increasing level of hacking sponsored by foreign governments.
According to Google's representative, users who receive a warning should not automatically assume that their account has already been hacked or hijacked. Instead, such users should have a heightened awareness that their email account may be targeted for a variety of attacks. Some of these attacks may try to compromise an account through malware, while others do not seek control of a user's email settings, but rather try to entice an account holder into disclosing personal information such as bank account numbers, birth dates, and Social Security numbers. These phishing attacks are becoming more prominent in recent years, but it is a new development for large numbers of them to be considered ‘state-sponsored’ rather than the work of individual malicious actors not affiliated with any national government.
Google, acting as a responsible IT company, is providing its users with strategies they can use to help better secure their Gmail accounts. One important step to take is to create a password that consists of more mixed characters. When upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols are mixed into a password, it is much more difficult for hackers to either guess or determine. Google also recommends that users update their browsers to the latest versions and keep their operating system, as well as all browser add-ons, fully up to date.
While these steps may be sufficient for personal users, small and medium businesses have a more intense vested interest in making sure that email accounts are not compromised. Internal company communications may detail proprietary information and trade secrets that could negatively affect a company's bottom line if released. Companies, therefore, should consider a managed services approach to email services. A managed services model through an outsourced IT approach can build in a variety of methods to provide heightened security for business users.
Some firms can operate well by using a managed services approach to their IT needs, but some need more of a hands-on approach. This is where a managed programs provider can be invaluable. In many situations, there is no substitute for a human being who is onsite on a regular basis. By contracting with a managed programs IT support provider, a company can have the confidence that comes from knowing a consultant is close at hand when infrastructure or network problems occur.
Few organizations are as cost conscious as small and medium sized businesses. Such businesses often have limited cash reserves and must be extremely careful in how they spend their ongoing budgets for various functions such as IT services. In this situation, it makes great sense for SMBs to leverage the experience and expertise of professional IT consulting firms that can often suggest innovative, cost-effective solutions to common business needs when it comes to information technology.