Email security is a pain. We keep getting spammed and reading stories in the press about email accounts being compromised. The biggest free and paid email providers track our information and make money on the data that flows through our inboxes.
When we want to send confidential emails, we have to figure out a way to password protect PDF or Word documents. Then we have to worry about phishing and other nefarious activities from people who want to steal access to our accounts.
What is one to do?
Option 1: Do nothing
The most relaxing option is to not worry about it. If it happens it happens, and one has other things to worry about in life. This is an attractive choice because it will not distract you from your day-to-day chores. In this case the best option is not to use email to send sensitive documents.
The challenge with the above choice is that as your business grows and you exchange confidential information over email, you are likely to become more paranoid about data security and email security. Over a longer period of time it will become more painful to switch email providers and suppliers as you will have a ton of information that needs to be saved and transferred.
Option 2: Complex Passwords, Two-Factor Authentication, Secure Documents
The second option is to make sure that your current email set up is as secure as possible. Here are 3 simple ways to secure your existing email service:
Choose complex and very long passwords (pain in the behind but you can have your web browser or email application manage the password on a trusted computer/mobile). You can use various password manager apps to keep track and automate your passwords. Click here to read more.
Use two-factor authentication to access your email accounts. It simply means that the email provider sends you a code (to your mobile or your other email) that you need to enter in addition to your password. Good practice, as someone may steal your password but not necessarily your other means of communication. (Two factor is not perfect, but get you closer to better security). There are a bunch of APPs that enable you to manage two factor authentication on your mobile. Click here to read more.
Secure the Documents
Make sure to secure your documents when emailing. You can do this by creating passwords to open attachments. A better option is to use a secure storage and be able to track who is accessing password protected documents. Specifically for contracts. Here is a great WiKi that explains password security for documents. Clicker here to read more.
Option 3: Secure email service provider
Use a secure email service provider. If you have the time and the patience, then you may want to use an email service provider that is obsessed with security. That means their business is primarily to offer secure email and / or file sharing services. They do not make money on your data and they spend a lot of time and resources on ensuring that your email infrastructure is secure.
Surprisingly there are a number of affordable options that will get you going quickly. At MachFast we have used a number of them and prefer ProtonMail from Switzerland. However, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. We liked ProtonMail because they offer VPN services (for secure internet connections), custom domains (meaning you can connect to your own website name) and an ability to use email clients like Outlook and Mail. To read more on secure email providers please click here.