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[Checklist] How to use email to securely share private data
Email is a quick and easy way to share private data. But that convenience does come with a few drawbacks. It's just as easy as it is to write and send an email as it is easy to make a mistake.
The wrong attachment, the wrong recipient, or just hitting the reply all button without realizing. In this checklist on how to send an email securely following GDPR guidelines, you can see if you’re doing it right, or if there might be some room for improvement.
Your secure emailing checklist
- Check the recipients
- Don't use autocomplete
- Avoid putting sensitive data in the subject line
- Is the recipient authorized to read it?
- Does the email need encryption?
- Set up a strong password and use 2FA
- Get a tool to help you out
1. Check the recipients of the email
If you accidentally email the wrong person or people, and you’re sending out personal data, this already is seen as a data breach. Be sure to always triple-check the recipients. It’s very easy to accidentally hit reply all when you shouldn’t have.
2. Autocomplete is your frenemy
Another thing to be aware of is using autocomplete. You just start typing the name and your email program suggest one of your (recent) contacts. Now that’s easy! And very dangerous. Autocomplete isn’t smart and doesn’t know who you’re writing to.
Sending out sensitive data? Before hitting send, consider having a cup of coffee before going over the list of recipients for a third check.
With just a few letters, it will give you a contact that appears to match. But just think of how many people you know with the same first or last name. That’s bound to go wrong! So be aware, or just switch off autocomplete if possible.
3. Don’t put sensitive data in the subject line
A lot of people have small pop-up notifications on their computer or mobile device showing the subject line of an email. Now, what if an email with a very sensitive subject pops up during an important meeting? Everyone can see that! So be sure to avoid telling too much in the subject.
4. Are you sure you should be sending the information to this person?
Even when you’re 100 percent sure you have the right recipient, think twice if you’re sending private data. Is this person allowed to see that data? Especially in healthcare, government, finance, and law, there can be quite a few instances where the recipient might not be allowed to get access. When in doubt, always double check!
5. Are you encrypting your email and attachments?
If the information in your email or attachments is sensitive, you’re better off encrypting it. Sometimes it’s even required by law. If you cannot encrypt yourself, consider getting a service like Smartlockr which does all the work for you.
6. Protect your email account with a unique password (and 2FA)
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people are still using passwords like ‘qwerty’ or ‘123456’. By creating your own unique password, the odds of your account getting hacked in seconds are immensely reduced.
A good, strong password is your best first line of defense. Set up two-factor authentication, and you're basically creating a second, even stronger wall.
Even better, set up two-factor authentication for your account. Even if a malicious hacker gets their hands on your password, they still won’t be able to access your email account.
Bonus: Want to be sure you’re always emailing the right way?
It may seem like a lot to follow all these best practices. If you really want to be sure you’re sending private data the way you’re supposed to, then Smartlockr might be the perfect tool for you. We check the recipients, automatically secure emails and attachments. And, of course, everything is encrypted too.
Curious about how Smartlockr can do all of the above for you and make your life easier? Book your free demo below!