More than 40 years after the Queen became the first head of state to send an email, Rackspace today warns enterprises not to take theirs for granted. In that time businesses have adopted email as a tool, not only for communications internally, but to sell to and provide services for customers. It has become paramount that businesses now carefully consider how they store, maintain and secure their emails. If not, businesses are risking, not only their access to important data and insights, but their reputation as well.
“With workplace apps and collaboration tools growing in popularity, it’s easy for the focus of IT teams to be drawn away from longer serving components like email and the infrastructure supporting it. But that doesn’t mean it’s old hat though,” commented John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace.
“Email still plays a critical role in businesses around the world, so not paying attention to its ecosystem could potentially leave companies vulnerable to security threats. By highlighting the myths surrounding email hosting we want to show organisations just how valuable smoothly running servers are to the overall success of the business.”
Myth 1: I don’t need email anymore, I’ve got instant messenger
With collaboration tools like Slack and Skype for Business on the rise, businesses are benefitting from the speed of instant messaging and novel ways to organise workloads. However, these tools can’t simply replace email, which remains a universally expected form of communication across professions.
With an increasing blur between our professional and private lives, instant messenger (IM) apps are only accentuating the problems and making it easier for accidents, like sending a particularly personal message to an important client, to happen. Unlike IM, emails support a kind of etiquette, allowing businesses to remain professional and uphold reputations, making it an important and relevant part of businesses.
Myth 2: Only technophobes get caught out by phishing
It can be underestimated just how sophisticated phishing attacks are. It’s not just those less technically able that can be targets in your business. In fact, phishing emails can be a big problem. Reported figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau showed that reported incidents were on the rise by 21% over a period of just 12 months, with email being the most popular channel, accounting for over three quarters of incidents.
. The fact is that phishing emails are extremely convincing and can appear to be legitimate unless you search closely for the signs. To some extent these scams are psychological, rather than technical, and anyone can be a target.
By carefully considering the filters and solutions available to help protect email users, as well as training employees to spot the signs of these scams, businesses can ensure they are well protected. Fostering an open culture in the company, so employees feel comfortable flagging any human errors that may impact on the businesses’ security is also important. That way the company can act.
Myth 3: Don’t worry about the weather
As high profile cases show, the weather is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to hosting. Our own research shows that 30% of outages result from bad weather, and when they hit, power failure can have a devastating impact on a business.
Not just by restricting access to vital data internally, but by disrupting communication with customers too. This in turn can reflect negatively on the company, ruining any credibility to run a reliable service for customers.
>See also: NHS Trust trusting email ahead of post
In order to stay equipped to handle whatever interruption mother nature throws at them, businesses need to make sure they have the mechanisms in place to ensure power can be maintained. It is also important that appropriate disaster recovery processes are in place, and reviewed regularly, so that if something unexpected does happen, the business is equipped to handle it.
Myth 4: Your data isn’t going anywhere
Everyone can all be guilty of storing our emails away on a server, expecting them to surface whenever we need them. However, little is it known about what happens to this data when it isn’t properly maintained on a server.
As the amount of data stored on a disk increases, the likelihood of “bit rot” does so too. This is where data slowly deteriorates as the charges keeping it in place on the server disperse into surrounding parts, just like losing heat from a house.
Any business that intends to be able to maintain and access the data it stores should develop processes for its upkeep. Systems for integrity checking or self-repairing algorithms can help to ensure the longevity of data, although this can add a layer of complexity to an already complicated situation for businesses. Choosing to outsource email hosting can ensure they have access to the expertise to properly maintain and keep data.
Myth 5: It’s riskier to outsource your emails
There is an assumption that the further away data lies physically, the more vulnerable it is to attack. This is not the case and businesses need to avoid thinking so. Especially as outsourcing can actually help to reduce risk.
Placing the business’ email servers in the hands of an organisation that is equipped with the necessary security expertise can ensure sensitive data is defended. This, along with the skill-sets to harness the latest tools and innovation can help the company to continue to do so.
The cyber landscape is constantly evolving, so in order to stay one step ahead, it’s vital that business have access to experts who can adapt and develop the techniques used to keep important data secure. Internal expertise can prove difficult to find and keep, particularly with such a competitive IT skills jobs market, so looking outside can be the best option. Particularly, as some email hosting and support organisations offer solutions that are tailored to meet the needs of specific industries with strict security requirements, like the healthcare or finance industries.
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