How and Why: Security Guide to Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies.
It has a proven, positive effect on customer retention, ROI.
Emails are also one of the widespread communication channels.
Therefore, they carry a heightened risk of being used as a vehicle for the malicious intentions of cybercriminals.
Judging by Verizon’s Data Breach Investigation report from 2019, 94% of detected malware was delivered via email.
Email scams and phishing can lead to ransomware attacks, and when it comes to the business world — both companies and their customers are at risk.
That’s why we will share some of the best practices to make things as safe as they can be in this security guide to email marketing for 2021 and beyond.
Security Guide: Email marketing threats
The most common email threats include:
- Scams — This method is used by cybercriminals to pose as a particular company or individual and trick its targets into giving out their sensitive data or paying for products & services that won’t be rendered.
- Malware — Malware is software in the form of a virus, Trojan horse, spyware, etc. It is usually transmitted via links and attachments, and it can track, record, collect and transmit your customers’ data. This data may include necessary credentials (e.g. PayPal passwords), personal data, etc.
- Spoofing — Spoofing serves to counterfeit or replicating the exact email copy a company would use for a specific email strategy. The purpose is to trick users into thinking they are communicating with a company to make them feel safe and hand out their critical data.
- Phishing — Cybercriminals use phishing to obtain sensitive data by using persuasive copy. The goal is to lure recipients into logging in to sites they trust over fake log-in forms on web pages that resemble the original ones.
Now, let’s see how to tackle some of these most effectively.
Use email encryption services
One of the best ways to stay safe in these safety-turbulent times is by using encrypted communication platforms.
This is crucial for sharing or exchanging super sensitive data via calls, messages, or file-sharing methods.
Unfortunately, email clients cannot offer high encryption levels like private messaging platforms (e.g. Tauria).
With platforms like this one, you can rest assured that all your communication will be fully encrypted and even quantum-computers resistant.
In particular, the best way to secure your email communication is by investing in an email encryption service that includes these features:
- End-to-end encryption — to make only the sender and recipient able to see email contents.
- MetaData handling — every time you send an email, bits of information (stored in the email header) about recipients, network, your company’s server, etc., are broadcasted. Vetted email services will automatically strip up email header metadata.
- 2-factor authentication
- Broad integration options — to link them with Gmail, Outlook, and other popular email clients
- Secure mail protocols like POP3, IMAP, SMTP, and NNTP — to automatically detect and intercept malicious correspondence
- Strong privacy laws
- Email digital signature certificate — to allow companies to digitally sign their emails with a unique signature generated from the company’s server private keys. This will also help recipients’ email clients automatically detect if the email was altered during transit and warn the recipient about possible dangers.
Incorporate email authentication standards
Email authentication is an effective method to verify the email’s sender and prevent scams and phishing attacks.
You can use it to preserve a company’s reputation and identity.
Companies should use these standards to define rules used to verify emails’ authenticity under their domains.
These are the most popular, industry-used standards: SPF, DKIM, DMARC.
Educate your users & customers
A great way to prevent email marketing cyber attacks is to communicate with your customers about security regularly.
This communication should entail the latest security threats and prevent them, especially in the email domain.
Therefore, educating them on how to open, analyse and act upon emails safely goes a long way in preventing scams, downloading malware, or falling for a phishing attack.
This will also improve customer or user experience by making them feel and be safer.
You can make a dedicated security newsletter with the latest information on how to detect, protect and fight against these threats.
To make it more interesting, include some productivity tips or even make a security and productivity mini ebook.
You can also create tailored quizzes to remind your customers how to act and behave when opening your company’s emails.
Teach your customers to gauge the credibility of emails and improve their overall security by:
- Checking the grammar and spelling
- Being cautious of low-level of personalisation
- Being wary of exaggerated urgency to take action
- Properly checking hyperlinks in emails
- Using 2-factor authentication and other security best practices
Leverage a VPN
A great way to add a layer of security is by connecting to a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
VPN services such as SurfShark can help you stay away from hackers’ prying eyes by hiding your company’s internet activity.
Precisely, when you send an email, it travels through the world wide web, where cyber attackers can intercept it.
They can even change it by adding malicious links or attachments and compromise it so that it can infect them once it reaches your customers or prospects.
By using a VPN service, you can mainly prevent spoofing as cybercriminals won’t access your internal data that can help them craft a compelling email copy.
Cybercriminals are constantly devising new and cunning ways to develop and deploy new threats.
Furthermore, the risk of catching malware followed by severe consequences is increasing with technological advancements.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect security guide to email marketing nor some fail-proof strategy, and all you can do is stay alert.
Staying up-to-date with the latest security threats and investing in security infrastructure is the only way to protect your business effectively.
Author Bio: Jesse David Thé – The Founder & CEO at Tauria. Jesse embodies the values and vision of Tauria, predictable considering it is his brainchild, after all. Working with Jesse, you’ll quickly realise you aren’t dealing with the typical CEO: he is very approachable to everyone and works closely with all the different teams.