What is communication security and why it is important?
Security is no longer an option in the digital world. With so much data being sent across the web, it is imperative to take every possible precaution available to prevent security breaches.
Communication security is a critical issue for all organizations. It has become the most important concern for the sensitive data that is being shared over networks. Organizations are finding it harder to balance between maintaining business continuity and ensuring cybersecurity. This is where the concept of encryption comes into play. Encryption solves all sorts of communication security problems such as confidentiality, integrity, and non-repudiation. It helps in securing data that is being processed across networks and potential threats such as cyberattacks.
Communication security is important to ensure that what we want to say is not twisted by the other person and to avoid the damage it can do in case of a leak.
So how does communicating in a secure way help you and your organization?
- Communication in a secure manner offers protection from cyberattacks and ensures confidentiality of the information. It helps companies protect their intellectual property by preventing it from being illegally accessed by threat-hunters.
- Secured communication protects employees against malware attacks such as phishing, ransomware.
Prevents the leakage of sensitive data to third parties either through unencrypted email or unsecured websites which can lead to a security breach or data leakage.
- Organizations can eliminate the communication related security barriers and drawbacks by following robust security practices.
Key risk points in the email communication
Email is one of the most popular forms of communication that people use, but it’s also one of the most abused. There are several ways in which your email might pose a security risk to your organization. If an attacker succeeds in hijacking an email account, he or she can transmit malware or obtain access to your organization or client’s information by impersonating as an employee or a genuine client.
Depending on the email threat, you might lose critical data, suffer large penalties, or experience downtime or disruption. Both parties – organization and employee have the responsibility to ensure that email is used wisely. Here are three ways that your email might pose a security risk:
Encryption: All the emails are sent through the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) which doesn’t use encryption or authentication. This will be a huge drawback for the email communicators which allow the attacker to extract information, as it is. But most of the web mails such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook etc. use their own security protocols for both sending and receiving emails. Apart from these, the email which is sent through the outsider SMTP can be accessed by the attacker due to the lack of encryption.
Ransomware/Malware: Most of the mailboxes are targeted by the attacker with spam and phishing emails. Simply having these emails are not dangerous, until the user opens the email accidentally or unknowingly and clicks on a malicious link and downloads the attachment.
Data Leaks: Due to an unintentional error, accidental data leakage becomes very common. An employee may misspell an email address or add the wrong person to an email chain by mistake. These types of incidents often lead to data leakage and impact privacy.
Common communication flaws that lead to a data leakage.
Most of the communicational threats are harmful for an individual or organization. Here are some other communicational flaws which can lead to a security breach or data leakage.
- Communicating or sharing sensitive information with colleagues or others about the organization through social media platforms.
- Sharing confidential files and documents through unauthorized cloud platforms.
- Using third-party applications and platforms for private chats.
- Storing the confidential chat backups and conversations.
- Involving unauthorized persons to access the devices or communicational platforms at any situations.
Issues that arise due to the communication security flaws
- Data leakage or breach
- High chance of theft and threats
- Impact on violation and privacy
- Increased cost in mitigating or overcoming the issue
- Reputational damage
- Legal issues and regulatory fines
- Impact on business process or productivity
What can we do?
Since email became a more common communication tool, it can make your organization vulnerable to a large extent. In the last year, 80% of the organizations have been subjected to an email attack, implying that all enterprises must consider the email as a risk. This implies you implement all suitable email security measures.
- Erase If it’s not needed: The greatest method to avoid data leaks is to never have sensitive information on hand in the first place. Employees should not leave sensitive information in their inboxes. When information is no longer required, it should be erased as soon as possible. In most cases, the documents which are stored in the email trash are riskier if it’s not completely erased.
- Be aware of shoulder surfing: Most of the organizations enable their employees to view company data by using their personal devices. However, this may provide a slew of security issues for businesses. During the communication process, most of them are suffering from shoulder surfing issues. Shoulder surfing is a practice used to collect information by peeking over someone’s shoulder. Employees must be cautious of prying eyes when using their devices to access emails or any sensitive information.
- Secure your Inbox and email gateway: Using any secure email or communication solutions will help you to protect the mailboxes and other communication platforms. This will help the organization and user to reduce or mitigate any security threats and help to spot the risk before it happens.
- Add sensitivity labels: Sensitivity labels are used to provide your files or communications an extra layer of security. They enable you to label documents as confidential or extremely confidential, which determines what users may do with the file once applied. You can encrypt the file with sensitivity labels or attach a Confidential footer to the information. Using the Confidential label will encrypt the text and add a Confidential footer.
- Educate employees and provide guidance to users: Most of the issues are initiated through human errors. By educating the employees and users, organizations can face the future with confidence and eliminate or reduce threats. Since security is considered as a business issue, employing a cyber aware staff will be an advantage for the organization to handle internal and external threat factors.
Communication security acts as a major security pillar in the vast information security landscape. This particular security requirement becomes an essential feature for organizations, clients and individuals to interact on a daily basis. This interaction may contain various sensitive information and data. By securing this communication with defined policies, protocols and procedures along with industry best practices, an organization can ensure smooth functioning of business activities and an increase in productivity.