Are Employees the Weakest Link in Your Email Security Strategy?
- by Brittany Day
When determining your email risk and assessing your email security strategy, it is common for administrators and IT professionals to focus on the threat that outsiders pose to their organization. While this is a valid concern, the critical mistake that is made far too frequently is failure to address the role that employees play in many attacks and breaches.
Over 90% of cyberattacks are initiated via email, making effective email security a vital part of a business's overall security posture that is too often neglected. When email accounts are inadequately secured, employees are vulnerable to an array of dangerous threats including targeted spear phishing and ransomware. Just one employee clicking on a link in a phishing email or downloading ransomware has the potential to destroy a company, especially if that company is a small or medium-sized business (SMB). Email-borne attacks and breaches often result in significant downtime, decreased productivity, legal fees, recovery costs and ruined reputations, and 60% of small companies shut down within six months of falling victim to a data breach or a cyberattack.
The good news is there are numerous ways that you can mitigate the risk that employees pose to your business's security, productivity and success. While employee education and security awareness training are beneficial, user behavior is ultimately unpredictable. Thus, investing in a comprehensive, fully supported email security solution that creates a safeguarded environment around the user by preventing all malicious mail from reaching the inbox is the most effective way to prevent the devastation that human error can cause.
Best Practices for Forifying Business Email Against Employee Error
While employee behavior is ultimately unpredictable, there are certain measures that administrators, managers and IT professionals should take to help influence and motivate employees to make secure, intelligent decisions. These best practices for reducing the risk of employee error include:
- Invest in employee education and security awareness training about email threats and email security. In order for employees to make smart choices pertaining to email security, employers must equip them with adequate knowledge about email-borne threats and steps that they can take to prevent successful attacks. Employees are a companies’ last line of defense when it comes to securing business email accounts, and must understand the importance of their actions and the serious repercussions that a mistake such as downloading a malicious attachment or clicking through a malicious link can have.
- Encourage employees to choose strong, unique passwords, and implement 2FA whenever possible. Utilizing strong passwords that are not reused across different accounts is imperative to mitigating email risk. Taking a strict approach to email passwords reduces the risk of dictionary attacks and website exploits, which can have devastating consequences for employees and organizations. Implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever it is available is also highly beneficial to an organization’s digital security posture and reduces the risk of account takeovers. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated its guidelines to challenge traditional password security best practices. NIST now suggests that organizations not require that employees frequently change their passwords, as employees often respond to this requirement by storing their passwords in an insecure manner. NIST instead proposes the use of long passwords, which should be changed only if compromised.
- Emphasize the importance of thinking before interacting with any email message, and encourage employees to verify all suspicious emails that they receive. Clearly convey the message that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to email security, and if an email appears strange or suspicious in any way employees should not hesitate to report it to their manager or their company’s IT department.
- Invest in a proactive, multi-layered email security solution. Implement an email security solution that provides complete control of your email infrastructure and visibility into the threats targeting your organization and the security of your email. Choose a solution that is capable of protecting sensitive information and preventing data leakage with strong end-to-end encyption of both incoming and outgoing messages, is able to reliably identify and block advanced and emerging threats in real-time, and is fully supported by the ongoing expert system monitoring and maintenance required to ensure that users and key business assets remain safe in this heightened digital threat environment.
Insider Threats Are More Common & Costly to Businesses than Ever Before
Although it does account for the majority of insider-related incidents, human error or negligence is not the only concern when it comes to employees and security. Insider threats of all types, which come from individuals within an organization such as employees, former employees, contractors or business associates who have inside information about sensitive data, computer systems and security practices, are more prevalent and dangerous than ever before. According to Verizon, the number of insider-related breaches rises every year, despite the fact that over 70% of insider attacks are not reported externally.
The majority of insider threats fall into three categories:
- Malicious Insider Threats: An individual within an organization intentionally seeks to steal information, leak data, or harm an organization in any way.
- Careless Insider Threats: Employees or other insiders don’t understand an organization’s security policies or fail to follow security rules, putting the organization at risk of data leaks, malware infections and other types of malicious cyberattacks.
- Compromised Insider Threats: An employee’s email account is taken over by a threat actor through credential phishing or malware in order to compromise sensitive data or make fraudulent financial transactions.
Almost all insider threats involve email, making effective email security crucial in protecting businesses against not only malicious outsiders, but insiders as well.
Defend Against Employee Error & Insider Threats with Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security offers fully supported all-in-one email protection, effectively mitigating businesses’ risk of suffering an insider attack. Powered by advanced Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) and AI technologies, EnGarde accurately identifies and rapidly quarantines both new and known threats in real time, preventing them from reaching the inbox where they could cause severe harm. EnGarde secures business email accounts against outsiders and insiders alike with the following key features:
- A resilient multi-tiered architecture, in which individual security features work harmoniously to detect and combat threats in real-time, bolstering endpoint protection and closing critcial security gaps in native Microsoft 365 email security
- Zero-hour outbreak control that protects against new, unknown threats
- Neutralizes threats associated with malicious attachments and links
- Authenticates every email delivered using DMARC, DKIM and SPF
- Protects sensitive data with powerful end-to-end encryption of incoming and outgoing emails
- State-of-the-art heuristic technologies recognize malicious code and accurately identify and block highly targeted phishing and impersonation attempts
- Dynamic reputation system classifies emails based on origin
- Real-time URL filtering and advanced URL analysis detect and stop the most targeting phishing attacks
- Scalable cloud-based system simplifies deployment and increases availability
- Tighter security, adaptive implementation and eliminated risk of vendor lock-in through the use of a transparent, collaborative development approach
- Expert ongoing system monitoring, maintenance and support enhances IT security, productivity and conveninece
- Real-time cybersecurity business insights accessible via the EnGarde Cloud Email Security Dashboard allow for improved decison making and better enforcement of company security policies
Set your business up for security and success by fotifying your email against both outsider and insider threats. How effective is your existing email protection? Asess Your Email Risk & Improve Your Email Security Strategy Now>
- Thinking Strategically about Email Security in 2021 and Beyond
- Behind the Shield: EnGarde Cloud Email Security Explained
- Open Source: A Powerful, Yet Underutilized Weapon against Phishing & Zero-Day Attacks
- Buyer's Guide: What to Prioritize in an Email Security Solution
- Buyer's Guide to Office 365 & Workspace Email Security
- EnGarde Cloud Email Security: The Logical Solution to Cyber Risk in Office 365
- Exchange Servers Are Vulnerable - Learn How To Secure Your Email Server Now
- Top Email Security Risks in 2021 - How To Set Your Business Up for Safety & Success
- Ransomware By The Numbers: How Big Is My Risk?
- SMB Ransomware Warnings & How To Prevent an Attack
- Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.6 Release Fixes Two Potentially Aggravating Bugs
- Top Tips and Advice for Staying Safe Online in a Work-from-Home World
- Demystifying Phishing Attacks: How to Protect Yourself Now
- Why Your Business Needs Better Email Security
- Why Ransomware is a Threat to Business
- How to Protect Sensitive Data & Maintain Client Trust in Financial Services Industry
- Why Office 365 Users Are Moving Away from Relying on Default Email Protection Alone
- What You Need to Know to Shield Your Business from Ransomware
- Why You Need DMARC to Secure Email against Spoofing Attacks & Sender Fraud
- Biden's Cybersecurity Efforts Highlight the Power of this Key Technology
- Shortcomings of Endpoint Security in Securing Business Email
- Open Source Utilization in Email Security Demystified
- Limitations of Microsoft 365 Email Security & How To Close These Dangerous Gaps
- Think Like A Criminal: What You Need to Know About Social Engineering Attacks in 2021
- Complete Guide to Email Viruses & Best Practices to Avoid Infections
- Security Expert Dave Wreski Discusses Guardian Digital’s Use of Open Source for Email Security
- Are Employees the Weakest Link in Your Email Security Strategy?
- Top Email Security Trends Putting Your Business at Risk of Attack in 2021
- There’s a Lot to be Gained with Effective Email Security
- You’ve Got Mail: How To Tell If It’s Fraud
- How To Keep Email Private with TLS
- DMARC Quarantine vs. Reject: Which Should You Implement to Secure Business Email against Sender Fraud?
- Encryption: An Essential Yet Highly Controversial Component of Digital Security
- Business Email Security Redefined: Key Benefits of Securing Your Business Email with Guardian Digital
- 8 Business Email Security Best Practices
- Demystifying Email Encryption: Stop Sender Fraud
- Demystifying Tax Fraud: How to Avoid Falling Victim to Deceptive, Costly Scams This Tax Season
- Coronavirus Phishing Scams are On the Rise - Is Your Business Email at Risk of Infection?
- Dave Wreski: A Passionate Engineer Brings the Power of Open Source to Business Email Security
- FBI: Existing Cloud Email Protection Inadequate Against Phishing, Ransomware
- Email Risk is Universal: Securing Business Email in Every Industry Sector
- The Remote Worker's Guide to Safely Navigating Office 365
- Why Your Business Needs Superior Email Protection
- Defending Against COVID Email Spoofing Attacks with DMARC
- Open-Source Security Is Opening Eyes
- Think Like A Criminal: How To Write A Phishing Email
- The Four Biggest Email Threats Your Business Faces Today
- Everything On DocuSign Phishing Attacks in 3 Minutes
- Understanding Payload-Less Email Attacks in Under 3 Minutes
- Demystifying Fileless Malware in Less than 3 Minutes
- Apache SpamAssassin Leads A Growing List of Open-Source Projects Taking Steps to Correct Instances of Racism and White Privilege
- Cyber Risk Is Greater than Ever in the Legal Industry
- Understanding Malicious URL Protection - And Why You Need It to Secure Your Email
- Email Security for SMBs Beyond COVID-19
- Email Risk Is BIG for SMBs - How To Protect Your Business Now
- Why Email Security Is More Important Than Ever in This 'New Reality'
- The Threat of CEO Fraud Extends Beyond the C-Suite
- Managed Services: A Key Element of Effective Email Security that Even Modern Solutions Lack
- How to maintain security when employees work remotely: Advice from Leading Security Experts
- FBI: The 2020 Presidential Election Is Under Attack by Email Scammers
- AT&T Security Researchers Identify a Correlation between Strong Cybersecurity and Business Success
- The Aftermath of a Cyberattack Pt. 1: Phishing Recovery Basics
- It Pays to be Prepared! Ransomware Preparedness & Recovery Basics
- Breaking Down Fileless Malware: Anatomy of an Attack
- Keep the Holidays Merry & Bright - Beware of These Sneaky Seasonal Phishing Scams
- Migrating Business Email: The Hidden Complexities You Need To Know
- SPF, DKIM & DMARC: Definition & How They Secure Email Against Sender Fraud?
- Your Current Approach to Email Security May Not Be Enough
- Ways to Prevent Email Account being compromised in a Breach
- Celebrating 20 Years of Revolutionizing Digital Security
- IBM Closes its $34 Billion Acquisition of Red Hat
- Interview with Security Expert and Author Ira Winkler
- What is Phishing Email? How to prevent Phishing email scams?
- Ways Our Business Email Exceed Your Expectations
- Spear Phishing Protection - Definition & How To Recognize Spear Phishing Email
- What is Whaling (Whaling Phishing)? & How to Prevent Whaling attacks?
- Business Email Compromise (BEC) - Definition & Prevention From BEC Attacks
- Wire Transfer Scams Involving Real Estate Transactions: How to Prevent Fraud with Effective Email Security
- Guardian Digital and Mautic: A Dynamic Open-Source Duo
- Email Malware - How to Recognize & Prevent Malware Email Attack
- An Open-Source Success Story: Apache SpamAssassin Celebrates 18 Years of Effectively Combating Spam Email
- What is Spam Email - Types & How to Prevent Spam Emails?
- 2020: A New Decade of Digital Threats - Is Your Business Email Secure?
- Linux: An OS Capable of Effectively Meeting the US Government’s Security Needs Heading into 2020
- Complete Guide on Email Security & Threats Faced by Organizations
- What Are Zero-Day Attacks & How Can I Prevent Them?
- Guardian Digital Keeps its Customers Protected from Intel Design Flaw
- Security Spotlight: Open Source Email Security Solutions
- Top Six Advantages of Open Source Development/Products
- Python and Bash - Contenders for the most used scripting language
- Guardian Digital Outlines Top 4 Benefits of Choosing Cloud
- Unrivaled Protection Against Today’s Most Dangerous Threats
- Guard Your Email Accounts Against Today’s Most Dangerous Threats
- Security Highlights from Defcon 26
- Linux / Open Source FAQs: Common Myths / Misconceptions
- Email Security FAQs Answered by Guardian Digital
- Guardian Digital Mail Systems: Designed to be Secure Without Fail