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Wed, November 21, 2018 Twitter LinkedIn

Compliance Training Blog

Security is everyone's responsibility

Email Safety, Best Practices

Email is practically a universal way of communicating — especially within companies. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone knows how to use electronic mail correctly or safely. When your employees know the best practices for email safety, that knowledge can go a long way in safeguarding your company. It is up to company leaders to teach their employees how to handle their email responsibly, and with these tips and coordinating courses from Global Learning Systems, you’ll have a good start in making sure your company’s email practices are secure.

What are some best practices for email safety?

The best place to start in securing your workplace email is in educating your staff on the basics of email safety. While some of these tips might seem like common sense to most people, you cannot assume that all of your employees will follow these practices.

Do not share confidential information

Chances are your workplace is not using encrypted email. Since emails pass through a variety of servers on their way to the recipient, anything sent unencrypted is at risk of being intercepted by hackers. You should never send the following information in email:

  • Credit card information

  • Social Security Numbers

  • Customer or client information

  • Passwords

If your business’ email gets hacked and the hackers retrieve sensitive client or company information, you could be facing major financial and legal issues. If you do need to send private information through the internet, be sure that the message is encrypted. The best way to do that is by putting the information into a file and compressing the file into a password-protected, encrypted .zip archive file. Then, email that file to the recipient.

Do not use any illicit or inappropriate language

Business email etiquette, and professional etiquette in general, dictates that you conduct yourself with professionalism using email correspondence. If employees are using language that is too casual or inappropriate, it reflects poorly on your business and leaves a bad impression on the recipients, which could hurt your company. Depending on the recipient, emails containing illicit or inappropriate language may be viewed as a form of sexual harassment, which could open your company up to costly lawsuits.

Some staff members might be in the habit of writing emails in the same manner that they would speak. If that’s the case, they should be encouraged to write in a more formal tone. One surefire way to ensure the email is written in a professional and friendly tone is to re-read it several times before clicking “Send.” Alternatively, the staff member could ask another trusted employee or manager to check the email for appropriateness.  If employees continue to use inappropriate language in their emails, you might need to take disciplinary action. Depending on the severity of the offense, you can start with a written warning and move up to probation, suspension, and possibly termination if the problem behavior cannot be solved.

Global Learning Systems offers an Ethics Training course that covers areas in your company that might be an issue; the course also helps reinforce professionalism in emails.

Double-check email recipients before clicking “Send”

One of the most important things to do before clicking “Send” on both personal and business emails is to check the email address of the recipient. For business purposes, you never want sensitive information falling into the wrong hands or accidentally share client information with the wrong person. A common way that this mistake happens is by typing in a first name and choosing the wrong recipient from the pop-up options.

Fortunately, if you use Outlook for company emails, you can set up a rule to defer emails for a couple of minutes to prevent any “oh no!” reactions after sending an email. This trick is especially useful if you have contacts with similar names, as it will give you a second chance to double-check the recipient.

If employees are following the first two guidelines and not sending confidential information or inappropriate language, sending an email to the wrong person probably won’t do too much damage. However, if something inappropriate or confidential does get sent to the wrong person, it is best to confront the issue head-on and notify the recipient immediately.

How can Global Learning Systems help?

Email issues are a common problem in businesses, and when employees are not following company email procedures, it can potentially do damage to your business’ finances and reputation, as well as cause legal trouble. Keeping your employees educated and up to date on company policies and procedures through training courses is an excellent way to prevent problems regarding email use from occurring.

Global Learning Systems offers an on-demand learning management system that allows you  quickly and easily to create, deliver, and track training for your employees. You’ll have access to all of our custom and off-the-shelf courses, including email-related courses such as phishing awareness and training, ethics training, and more.

By providing consistent and relevant training to your employees, you can ensure that your staff is using the best practices when it comes to email safety.

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