An estimated 45 percent of all e-mail is defined as spam, costing business worldwide $20 billion a year in lost productivity and technology expenses, according to the Radicati Group, a market research firm in Palo Alto, California.
The need to eliminate spam and fraud is critical: Spam and viruses rank as the top two security breaches for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)-according to the Yankee Group, more than 80 percent of SMBs have fallen victim to security breaches, leading to major losses in business productivity.
Following are five critical tips which will help you create a more productive workplace that is better protected against spam and phishing attacks-even if you have minimal or no IT staff.
- Make sure your employees are aware of “phishing” attacks. For small-business owners, now is the time to educate your employees on how to spot a phishing attack-they’re on the rise and they’re dangerous.
- Educate employees on the how-tos of secure e-mail usage. Make sure your employees know they should avoid filling out forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information or passwords. This affects all employees, especially those who book travel reservations, deal with human resources issues or make purchases for your business. Legitimate companies won’t ask for this information via e-mail.
- Protect your business from being “phished.” For small businesses, phishing can be especially pernicious, putting owners and employees at risk of online fraud, identity theft and outright robbery. What’s more, phishing also threatens future operations, causing users to have less trust in legitimate, commercial e-mail messages.
- Let your employees have some control. Look for a spam-filtering solution that lets users sort through their own junk mail, so they can determine exactly what is spam vs. other mail which might accidentally end up in the trash bin (such as e-mail newsletters and marketing messages). Also, have a procedure in place so employees can report spam and you can in turn report it to your ISP or the Feds at www.ftc.gov.
- Choose an e-mail security solution that’s right for you. Because small businesses may not have the money to afford dedicated IT resources, they often require a different type of solution to support their security infrastructure. Since you may not be able to afford the upfront investment in technology to help meet these challenges, you should look to solutions that don’t require an IT resource, are easy to use, and are specifically designed with small businesses in mind.
Don’t wait for an attack to happen before figuring out what to do. Spam attacks are on the rise, and you need to start now to reduce your business risk and develop response plans.