THREE STEPS TO SECURE GMAILBACKUPIFY – AUGUST 2012
3 STEPS TO SECURE GMAILBackupify, Inc. 2INTRODUCTIONIn this three-step article we address challenges around email security including alook at specialized Gmail settings and best practices to keep your email secure.Giving someone keys to your email account - voluntarily or involuntarily - isequivalent to giving them keys to commit identity theft. These days we geteverything emailed to us - receipts for purchases, credit card and bank accountstatements and loan documents. Its unquestionably worth investing time to makesure your work area is secure.Think of your access to email in three layers: the computer youre using, the emailapplication itself, and your habits while online. The sum of these three layers isyour overall Gmail security level; a weakness at any point can zero out the wholeequation. Well dissect each Gmail access layer and point out possible securitypitfalls.PART ONE: YOUR COMPUTERIt makes sense to start with securing your computer since thats the foundation ofGmail access. The first order of business is to check for updates to the computersoperating system (OS) – which for most users is either Microsoft Windows orApple OS X.In Microsoft Windows, click Start > All Programs > and click on Windows Update.In the window that comes up, click the Check For Updates link (youll need to beonline to do this). Windows Update will find and automatically select the mostimportant updates; all you have to do is click install and possibly restart when itsfinished.In Mac OS X, click the Apple menu > Software Update. This will open the AppStore and display a list of available updates; click Update All to begin the process.Its of vital importance to keep your operating system up-to-date; the OS controlsall Internet communication on your computer. Any vulnerability there will affect allof your online interaction!
3 STEPS TO SECURE GMAILBackupify, Inc. 3Next let’s check if your web browser is up-to-date; this is almost as important asthe OS since the browser is the one processing all the Internet traffic, Gmailincluded.Internet Explorer: patches for Internet Explorer will automatically be applied withWindows Update (see above).Firefox: open Firefox and click the Firefox button at the top. Mouse over Help andclick About Firefox; it will check for updates and start the download. Click theApply Update button when it shows up.Google Chrome: Click the wrench icon to the right of the address bar and thenAbout Google Chrome; it will automatically check for and apply updates.Apple Safari: for OS X users, updates will be applied by using Software Update forthe OS. For Windows users, launch Apple Software Update (Start > All Programs >and click on Apple Software Update) to begin the process.The last step to secure your computer is to make sure anti-virus software isinstalled such as Norton or McAfee. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and asolid alternative to paid solutions for Windows users if you dont already haveanti-virus. Keep in mind this software is a last line of defense; it will deal with anymalicious software that gets through your OS and browser.PART TWO: CHANGE GMAIL AND GOOGLE ACCOUNT SETTINGSYou can setup two-step verification on your Google Account to go beyondsimple password security. Youll have to enter not only a password but also a codesent to your phone by Google in order to access your account. This meanssomeone trying to hack your Gmail account will need not only your password butalso your phone to get in. Its a no-brainer to set this up. Google has a two-stepverification walkthrough here.Another important setting pertaining to Gmail itself is the use of a secure or SSLconnection. An SSL connection encrypts the data going out of and coming into
3 STEPS TO SECURE GMAILBackupify, Inc. 4your computer; this means the data is unreadable even if intercepted; it can onlybe decrypted by your computer and the server on the other end.Login to Gmail and click the gear icon on the right side of the screen; then clickSettings. The fifth category down is Browser Connection; select Always Use HTTPS.Then scroll down and click the Save Changes button.PART THREE: GOOD PRACTICES TO STAY SAFEYou can defeat all of the above security precautions if you get up and walk awayfrom your computer without locking it or at the very least, signing out of Gmail.This is especially true of computers other than your own in public places, such ashotels.Tip: on public computers, make use of a web browsers privacy mode. Press Ctrl +Shift + P to enable privacy mode in Internet Explorer and Firefox; in GoogleChrome, press Ctrl + Shift + N; in Apple Safari click the gear icon and then PrivateBrowsing (or in Mac OS X, choose Safari > Private Browsing). The browser wontremember any history or passwords in private mode. Remember to close thebrowser though!The last area we’ll address concerns passwords. Even if you dont write them downits still possible for someone to guess your password. The solution is changingyour password often – and making it something hard to guess! Your pets name isnot acceptable. Ideally make the password a phrase instead of a single word;include lower and upper case letters, at least one number and a special symbolsuch as an exclamation point. “1 L0ve to Re@d!” is a good example.CONCLUSIONThe tips in this article arent once-and-done tasks - its necessary to rinse andrepeat to keep your Gmail security at its best. Check for software updates on a
3 STEPS TO SECURE GMAILBackupify, Inc. 5regular basis, change your passwords, and please never get up from yourcomputer without signing out of Gmail or locking your computer. Letting someonevoluntarily or involuntarily have access to your email is equivalent to giving them alicense to commit identity theft!ABOUT BACKUPIFYBackupify is the leading provider of backup and restore solutions for SaaSapplications including Google Apps, Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, and more.Backupify was founded in 2008 and is based in Cambridge, MA. Backupify has over200,000 users trusting us with more than 500 million documents, two billion emailmessages and 350 terabytes of data.WHY BACKUP CLOUD DATA?Your data is one of the most critical assets of your business. Like any importantasset, it should be insured. While most SaaS providers, including Google andSalesforce, offer state-of-the-art disaster recovery capabilities that protect youfrom some forms of data loss, you are still at risk for data loss due to user error,hacked accounts and third-party application bugs. To fully replicate your on-premise backup capabilities in the cloud, you need the ability to perform granularrestores, and to retain the control that comes from having your own securesecond copy of the data in your SaaS applications.FIND OUT MOREIf youre interested in the peace of mind you get from an automated Google Appsor Salesforce backup solution, feel free to contact us directly firstname.lastname@example.org. Web http://www.backupify.com Phone 1.800.571.4984 Twitter http://twitter.com/backupify