No matter the size of your business, if you use email marketing, you’re at risk for certain online security threats. Email has long been known as one of the easiest, most effective forms of communication for businesses, but it’s also susceptible to attacks. You would never leave your physical business unprotected, so it’s important that you take similar precautions for your online business to ensure it’s secure. Here are a few security tips every company should consider when it comes to their emails.

1. Understand the Risks

Go into your email marketing strategy with a solid understanding of the risks you’re facing. They extend beyond the campaign itself. When you send emails, they can act as a portal for hackers and malware. Unless that portal is secured, it’s easy for outside parties to gain access and compromise company data.

2. Don’t Outsource

Major marketing firms often outsource their email marketing campaigns in order to lighten their load, but that increases the risk of security breaches. Approximately 63 percent of data security breaches are actually the result of bad outsourcing. If you choose to outsource your marketing efforts, make sure you question potential marketing services thoroughly regarding their security measures to ensure they comply with your standards.

3. Encrypt Emails

In business, you’ll often send emails to customers regarding sensitive order information. Learn to encrypt those emails so that the data is unreadable by anyone other than the intended recipient.

4. Use a VPN

When you send an unsecured email, the data enters the world wide network where it can be privy to the attention of unauthorized parties. You can largely avoid those risks by sending email only over a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This ensures that all data is encrypted. It also offers certain security measures against unauthorized parties.

5. Train Employees

The top cause of security breaches within a business structure is actually employee error. This risk is reduced when companies take the time to properly train employees on security measures. Hold regular trainings for your email marketing team to inform them of potential risks. Discuss proper procedures for handling security breaches and for avoiding them altogether. Education is your most powerful weapon in the fight against security breaches.

6. Get the IT Department Involved

If anyone in your office knows how to handle online security, it’s your IT department. Bring your email marketing staff together with your IT department so they can discuss major concerns and solutions. IT professionals can recommend software and best practices, and your marketing team can receive a thorough training where they can have their questions answered.

7. Install Antivirus

There’s always the risk that an incoming email could have a virus. Antivirus software can detect and rid your system of this virus before it has the opportunity to do any harm. In addition, this software can reduce the risk of your company accidentally sending a virus with an email from their subscribers.

8. Be Wary of Downloads

In the event that you receive an email from a customer or client, be wary about opening it. Obtaining a virus or Trojan could be as simple as opening an unauthorized download. Avoid opening downloads from untrusted sources and install software security measures to warn you when a download may be harmful to your computer.

9. Avoid Direct Replies

Try to send emails using a “no reply” email. This makes it impossible for your email recipients to respond and send malware. In addition, when you receive an email from an unknown recipient, avoid direct replies if possible. That way you can protect your email account from malicious individuals.

10. Create a Complex Email Address and Password 

Sometimes the best security begins with the email itself. Instead of using a simple email address, make it complex. Furthermore, your password should be equally complex.  This makes it difficult for hackers to auto generate your email and password. Don’t worry about your customers not being able to remember your email address. They can contact you by filling out a form through your website.

It would be foolish to continue your email marketing efforts without proper protection. Increase your online security and do your best to avoid a data breach that could lead to a potential shutdown of your business.