Why Secure Communication is Essential for Business Success
- by Brittany Day
There’s a lot to do when starting a new business, and communication is crucial. Doing this requires more than just asking questions and addressing the answers. With so much business communication conducted digitally, ensuring that popular communication channels such as email are secure is critical for any business’s safety and success.
The risks of leaked data from digital messaging can’t be overstated. According to a recent IBM survey, on average, US firms last year took 277 days (around nine months) to recognize and contain data leaks. Reducing that process to under 200 days would have saved companies an average of $1.12 million. With this in mind, imagine the cost savings of securing email communications to a big company if the software and processes are already in place to prevent significant data leaks. Ultimately, communication security’s no longer optional; it’s imperative.
This article will discuss in more depth why secure communication is non-negotiable, what makes business communication safe, and how to secure business email to foster safety and success for your organization.
What Makes Business Communication Secure?
Fundamentally, you can’t call digital communication secure unless it fulfills four principles: encryption, authentication, integrity, and non-repudiation.
So, when businesses send messages, it should be with end-to-end encryption. Meanwhile, encryption algorithms and network sniffing tools can help authenticate users to protect against attackers intercepting the communication. Digital certificates and biometric identification are also commonly relied on to prove authenticity.
The integrity of a communication refers to it not being tampered with or modified, and whoever receives it is confident it hasn’t been. Digital signatures, message authentication codes, and data hashing handle this.
Finally, non-repudiation means that the sender of a message/transaction can’t deny they’ve sent it after the recipient has received the message. So, it refers to evidence that the communication exists. Again, this uses digital signatures, message authentication codes, and timestamps.
More generally, a few comprehensive tools that drive communication security are worth noting. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) encrypt communications between clients (browsers) and servers (websites/ applications). Of the two, TLS is the newer and better regarded.
Furthermore, Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) tackles the encryption/decryption of emails over the Internet, while Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are fast becoming another major player.
VPNs are commonly used because they connect remote users to a private network, avoiding shared public networks. A VPN boasts in-built security features for authentication and data privacy, and, increasingly, many businesses are turning to them for these reasons.
Email Security: A Critical Component of Secure Business Communications
Email is top of the list of all forms of communication that need protection simply because of its ubiquity in the business world. When professionals contact each other today, it’s most often via email.
To that end, no professional body can risk an insecure email system. The danger of malicious attacks is too great – whether through malware, phishing, or data leaks.
Businesses should educate email users on best practices. They should be able to distinguish between an innocent email and a phishing attack. They all should be using strong passwords and frequently changing them, too.
Beyond this, all emails must be encrypted between sender and recipient. Secure login to an email server is also essential. Plus, safeguards against human error must be provided by an email protection system capable of detecting and blocking all malicious mail before it reaches the recipient.
Why Is Secure Communication a Non-Negotiable?
If you still need convincing, here are eight reasons why communication security is a top priority:
To Protect Sensitive Information
Secure communication is non-negotiable to protect sensitive business and customer information—from financial details to trade secrets and customer contact information to personal particulars. In an era when data is king, data leaks aren’t just embarrassing and harmful to the bottom line but could halt a company’s operations and destroy its reputation. If you’re in any doubt about that, consider that, according to the 2022 report by IBM, the average cost of a data breach in the United States last year was a staggering $9.44m. Moreover, the report claims it takes a US company an average of 80 days to contain a breach. Yet, it takes an average of 287 days before that to identify a violation even happens.
To Build Trust & Reputation
In less stark terms, ensuring sensitive information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands reaps significant benefits. Why? Because it establishes and maintains trust with customers by letting them know their precious data is safe. Secure communications, therefore, help a business build, support, and control its reputation. The onus is on them to make it known people and organizations can trust them. How best to go about that? Well, it pays to be up-front, honest, and positive. For instance, many companies dedicate website pages to providing customers with real-time data on security performance and their commitment to compliance. Many businesses also highlight incorporating security into testing, staff, and development, showing that security is a company value.
To Meet Regulatory & Compliance Requirements
Of course, there’s the other side of the coin with insecure communications—they might restrict business activity and invoke fines, penalties, and even legal action due to non-compliance. As the digital age progresses, compliance with handling data is ever-growing and evolving. As a result, when comparing modern technology with more traditional methods, answers to questions such as ‘Is VoIP better than landline?’ often mention compliance standards as a benefit of current practices.
Businesses must reassure customers they can trust them with compliance. Many companies will list certifications, standards, and regulations, including GDPR, FedRAMP, HIPAA, PCI, DSS, and ISO 27001. Companies often state their desire to educate and comply with changing data privacy laws. It’s a decisive move to build trust, attract customers, and get ahead of the pack.
To Mitigate Financial & Legal Risks
Protecting their company from the financial and legal risks outlined above is essential for business owners; they can’t afford to expose themselves to lost customers or lawsuits. Speculating to accumulate— investing in multi-tiered email security, anti-malware/spyware tools, employee education, and VPNs—will pay off in the long run. After all, according to IBM, ransomware-caused data breach shot up by 41% last year, meaning that it took 49 days longer to identify and contain them.
To Enable Efficient Cooperation
Safe digital communication can nurture collaboration between team members, departments, and partners. Anything that drives improved processes, resulting in happier, more efficient staff, will benefit the bottom line. Many businesses turn to phone systems to develop clear and efficient communication while remaining secure. Various techniques will suit different needs. You can start by looking at the other telephone systems Vonage explains. You should also remember that malware attacks will ensue if you don’t choose digital collaboration tools wisely. It’s critical to select devices with inbuilt encryption and security features.
To Safeguard Intellectual Property
When using digital communication, it’s not just private customer data a business must make secure. It must also consider its sensitive information—especially its intellectual property (IP). So, it’s imperative that patents, trademarks, and copyrights of intellectual property remain safely out of the clutches of malicious third parties, let alone competitors. To safeguard its IP, a business should deploy secure communication tools and roll out security-focused protocols, such as the principle of least privilege.
To Enhance Customer Confidence
Keep the customer satisfied. Make your prospective customers and clients aware they can trust your company not to leak privileged information. Examples include ‘informed consent. In time, customer confidence in this will inevitably contribute to customer satisfaction, leading to customer loyalty and increased revenue.
To Adapt to Evolving Threats
Finally, no business leader can ever rest on their laurels. So it is when making sure communications are – and remain – secure. Unfortunately, the landscape of cyber threats is ever-changing. Malware and ransomware technology is becoming ever-more capable, which means the technology designed to combat them must be, too. Business leaders must keep up with the latest best practices and market trends, such as open-source email protection, or else they could find themselves on the wrong end of a nasty, costly data breach.
Final Thoughts: Can A Business Succeed Without Secure Communication?
In today’s digital-driven world, it’s undoubtedly difficult to convincingly argue that any company can be without secure communications. Due to its flexible functionality, email is quickly replacing the telephone as the primary communication tool for companies, which means protecting sensitive information in emails is essential.
Once upon a time, an undisputed priority for a business owner, before day one of operations, almost certainly would have been sorting out a phone system. These days, the focus is on selecting the exemplary email service that guarantees the best possible security.
It doesn’t end there, however. Once a business has secure communications, it must be vigilant in the face of cyber threats and update security tools accordingly. That means keeping up with the latest trends in secure communications—for starters, after this article, checking resources such as this piece about top email security mistakes and how to avoid them is strongly advised.
So, to sum up, to achieve business success, communication security is no longer optional; it’s essential. Keep learning about securing email communications by exploring the resources below:
- Implementing a comprehensive email security system can help prevent advanced threats, such as targeted spear phishing and ransomware.
- Following these best practices, you can also Improve your email security posture to protect against attacks.
- Keep the integrity of your email safe by securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Get the latest updates on how to stay safe online.
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