Email Data Security Threats Every Broker Should Be Aware Of
November 30, 2021
Email continues to be an effective communication tool for insurance brokers and their clients. It’s fast, efficient, and very much in line with modern communication preferences. But no form of digital communication offers 100% data security. Even email is subject to threats.
The rising prevalence of such threats is proof positive that global business still relies heavily on email. As an insurance broker, it’s quite likely you routinely interact with your clients via email. Are you aware of the potential data security threats involved? If not, keep reading to learn more so you can better protect your business.
Discussing every potential threat to email data security just isn’t possible. Not only are there too many, but scammers and spammers are becoming more sophisticated by the day. As a broker, your best bet is to stay abreast of the most common threats, including those that are currently emerging. Here are four such threats:
Email bombing is the practice of sending very large volumes of email for the purposes of overwhelming either a server or the actual recipients. One form of email bombing is designed to send so many emails to a single address that they distract the recipient from more sinister activity. It's important that brokers take seriously any client complaints regarding an unusual volume of spam. It could be an indicator that a spammer is using a broker's email address for bombing purposes.
Phishing is the practice of scamming email recipients by sending messages that appear to be legitimate. Scammers accurately replicate legitimate company messages by using their names, logos, etc. They send emails requesting personal information, then use that information to breach a recipient's accounts.
Ransomware is a form of malware that, when successfully executed, locks a computer and prevents any data access. Victims are forced to pay a ransom to unlock their computers or pay a security expert to solve the problem. Either way, it is costly.
Despite so much education over the years, email remains the number one vehicle for computer viruses. Spammers and hackers attach viruses disguised to look like word processor documents, PDFs, and the like. Unsuspecting recipients open the attachments and infect their computers.
As an insurance broker, you cannot prevent any and all security threats to your own email servers, or those of your clients. But you can take some basic steps to minimize the threats such as following current security protocols and implementing regular email security training for yourself and your staff members. Whenever such protocols are updated, you update your processes and training to stay current and keep your email as safe as possible.
Hopefully you already use a trusted antivirus package on your own computers. If not, that’s the first change you should make. You might also consider investing in a secure email gateway that prevents anyone from using your network to send spam, malware, etc. An email gateway would also allow you to configure sending email by permission only.
You could also create email standards and educate your clients about them. For example, you might establish a policy of never asking for personal information in an email. If all personal information is gathered over the phone or in person, you can instruct clients that any emails requesting personal information are malicious, even if they appear to be coming from you.
As easy and convenient as email is, it's also an ongoing target for hackers and spammers. It is in your best interests to be mindful of email data security. The more you can do to keep yourself and your clients safe, the better. If you need help, utilize the services of a data security specialist.