You’re not alone if you’ve noticed an uptick in email security breaches. 81% of organizations globallyhave experienced an increase in email phishing attacks since March 2020.
This is somewhat due to an increase in phishing and hacking attempts. But here’s the catch: many of us make email deletion mistakes that create serious security vulnerabilities!
While nobody wants to read thousands of emails every day or spend hours organizing their inbox, it’s important to understand the risk to online safety and privacy when deleting emails incorrectly.
Read along as we outline six common email deletion mistakes so that you can avoid accidental data breaches and be more cautious when managing email accounts.
The Importance of Email Security
Email security is more important now than ever. This is especially true if you work remotely and use your personal computer to access sensitive company data. When working from home and using an unsecured internet connection, it’s easy to make email security mistakes.
This doesn’t only apply to a professional setting, though. We rely heavily on email for communication with family, friends, and more. It’s our top choice for staying in touch, but it also exposes us to the threat of malicious attacks.
A lack of email security can easily allow attackers access to your email accounts and all its contents, from personal information to sensitive corporate data. That’s why email security is so important. You must take the necessary measures to ensure your email remains protected from online threats. This is true whether your company has data security protocols or not.
By implementing appropriate email filters, regularly changing passwords, and consistently monitoring activity, you can stay one step ahead of email attackers and remain safe from potential information breaches. However, as mentioned above, much can come down to your email deletion mistakes.
6 Email Deletion Mistakes
How can you protect your privacy and email security? Delete emails regularly! However, we know it’s not always that simple. Keep these email deletion mistakes in mind as you engage in your email cleanup routine.
First, if you’re unsure what the difference between deleting or archiving emails is, check out this helpful guide.
When it comes to email security, deleting emails instead of archiving them can provide an extra layer of protection. By deleting emails that have been seen or deemed unnecessary, you are ensuring that no sensitive information is stored in accounts that could be vulnerable to hackers.
Additionally, if you delete emails regularly and don’t just archive them, you can keep your inbox from getting cluttered with out-of-date messages. This frequent cleaning of your inbox can help to protect further any personal information someone could gain access to by hacking your account. So take the time every so often and delete those emails — your digital safety depends on it.
2. Not Decluttering
Perhaps you can’t delete emails regularly due to a company-wide email policy. Or perhaps you have a lot of important emails you need to access frequently. If deleting isn’t an option, ensure you regularly declutter your email inbox.
When you don’t declutter regularly, finding emails becomes increasingly difficult. Soon enough, it can become an overwhelming task. Fortunately, decluttering our inbox needn’t be a dreaded chore. The first step is to unsubscribe from the newsletters and updates you no longer read or are not interested in.
If you want to do that on a mass level, keep reading to learn how Mailstrom can help you do that in just a few clicks.
Then, categorize your existing inbox into sensible email folders based on a topic. For example, “Finances,” “Work,” or “Family.” You can also set up automated filters, so emails go straight into the right category without looking at them first.
Lastly, regularly check in with yourself and delete irrelevant or expired emails to ensure everything remains organized and manageable. How often should you be doing this? At least once every quarter if you’re a professional or once every 60 to 90 days if you’re organizing your personal inbox.
3. Public WiFi
This email security tip is more about your overall data security than it is about email deletion specifically. You may not realize it, but public WiFi is a major security risk for your email. While it can be convenient to use public networks and hotspots, they open you up to the possibility of getting hacked.
Hackers use public WiFi to access data you transmit while connected, such as emails or banking information. The best way to stay safe and keep your data secure from hackers when using public WiFi is to have a password-protected personal hotspot or VPN connection. With precautions taken in this manner, you can (usually) enjoy public WiFi safely.
Likewise, it might be worth investing in a privacy screen protector when dealing with sensitive data in public places. It’s a thin layer of tempered glass film that can be applied directly to the laptop’s display, and it prevents onlookers from seeing what you’re viewing by blocking out light from different angles.
4. Accidental Deletion
We’ll follow up that serious tip with a more light-hearted one. Have you ever accidentally deleted a very important email? Don’t worry; there are simple ways to fix that! It’s not necessarily a security mistake, but it isn’t very pleasant.
Depending on how much time has passed, you may be able to undo the deletion or find retrieved items in a Trash folder. If this doesn’t work, reach out to your provider or search online for recovery options specific to the device or application used when the email was sent.
Although accidentally deleting an email can be frustrating and heartbreaking, it doesn’t always mean a total loss.
5. Weak Passwords
Weak passwords can be an unfortunate security mistake when it comes to emails. Not only are weak passwords easy to guess, but you risk them being hacked by cybercriminals. This means that no matter how diligent you are with email deletion, it won’t matter because a hacker will have access to everything, including your spam and trash folders.
To ensure you have a strong email password, experts encourage making them at least eight characters long and including both letters and numbers. Using symbols and special characters can be helpful too. Just make sure you can remember your password easily.
6. Email Management
Finally, the last email deletion mistake most people make is not regularly engaging in email management. This is different from the decluttering tip mentioned above. Decluttering is about email cleanup, clearing away existing messages to create a less jam-packed email inbox.
Inbox management involves controlling the number of emails you receive and sorting them into the right folders so that you can access important information promptly.
Inbox management also allows you to efficiently locate email conversations or arrange inbox content by subject matter and urgency, making it easier to find what you need without having to scroll through your inbox whenever you need to find something.
With inbox management, sorting emails by category can be a time-saver, allowing you to separate personal messages from work emails. Additionally, inbox management can help limit distractions. With the right email tool, you can customize inbox settings accordingly to reduce notifications or other disruptive pop-ups which could prove detrimental during working hours.
How to Delete Emails Safely
With those email security tips above in mind, how can you safely delete emails?
It’s best to delete unwanted or unnecessary emails as soon as possible so that hackers cannot access personal information through your email account. Always delete the emails from your inbox, if possible, then delete them from the trash folder. If security is paramount for you, double-checking and deleting your emails twice will give you extra peace of mind.
Finally, consider using a password protection program to ensure extra security when deleting emails and accessing them again in case they are needed. Also, if you're dealing with sensitive data, ensure you never give out password details via email. Instead, use a secure messaging system or call the other person and give them login details by phone.
Use Mailstrom for Email Cleanup
Ready to never make an email deletion mistake again? Okay, we can’t promise that. But we can promise to make hacking your way to Inbox Zero as simple as possible. For example, Mailstrom’s Unsubscribe feature makes it incredibly easy to delete old or unwanted emails. If you’re looking to delete large amounts of emails in one go, Mailstrom is your go-to. It allows you to delete tens, hundreds, or even thousands of emails with just one click.Cut out the hassle associated with normal email deletion processes and enjoy Mailstrom’s unbeatable features today. Start your free trial now!