With email-borne threats evolving to become increasingly sophisticated and problematic for businesses, creating and implementing an effective enterprise level best practices for email security has never been more important. Ninety percent of cyberattacks are now carried out via email, and successful attacks cost enterprises over $1 million per incident on average. Inadequately secured enterprise email is an open door for spear phishing, ransomware and other advanced exploits. Email safety best practices are more important than ever.
As a new decade unfolds, the unfortunate reality is that despite improvements, enterprises are still losing the email security battle to attackers, largely due to the fact that too many organizations fail to address the big picture when it comes to security. An effective enterprise level strategy for email safety is comprehensive, proactive and an advanced business cloud email security solution that provides fully-managed, real-time protection against email attacks that have the potential to destroy an organization.
Best Practices for Security Of Enterprise Email
Although an effective enterprise email security strategy is somewhat individual, there are certain universal concepts and methods that every enterprise should incorporate into its approach. Best practices for securing enterprise email or email attachement best practices that should be a part of any enterprise email security checklist include:
1. Focus on the fundamentals
Developing and implementing an effective enterprise email security strategy may seem overwhelming; however, there is no reason to overcomplicate things. Prioritize getting the basics right, starting with ensuring that a comprehensive business email security solution is in place. An effective enterprise email security solution must be user-friendly, and preferably fully-managed by the provider. Essential components of an cloud email security solution include end-to-end encryption, attachment scanning, spam filtration and URL analysis. Without these basic features, an organization will always be vulnerable to email-borne threats, regardless of other advanced technology it has deployed.
2. Email security education for employees
Employee education and security awareness training are essential aspects of an effective enterprise email security strategy. CIOs, administrators and IT professionals understand the importance of email security, the value of sensitive data, and the consequences of a successful phishing attack or breach; however, it is crucial that employees share this understanding. The majority of insider breaches are the result of human error or negligence, and enterprises can mitigate this risk by sharing knowledge and values with employees. Employees are an enterprise’s first line of defense, and providing regular, comprehensive security training is the best method not only for minimizing the risk of human error, but also for strengthening this critical defense.
3. Identify and address weaknesses
Regardless of budget size or the security technology in place, every enterprise has weaknesses that can be exploited by attackers. Identifying and attempting to address these shortcomings is essential in improving an organization’s security posture. Ensure that employees understand these weaknesses and their potential implications. Underestimating vulnerability is a serious mistake that can leave an enterprise susceptible to attacks and breaches.
4. Plan for the worst case scenario
Have a clear, intelligent protocol in place for responding to potential threats. For example, if an employee’s email account is compromised, it is imperative that all parties know who to notify. Plan for the worst: How should administrators and employees respond in the case of a breach? Acting fast is extremely important in the event of a cyberattack, and having a clear protocol in place will help eliminate possible confusion or delays.
5. Back up important files
While implementing an effective enterprise email security strategy will drastically reduce an organization’s chances of experiencing a cyberattack, no strategy or solution is completely foolproof. To reduce potential damage and devastation in the case of a ransomware attack, enterprises should back up critical files frequently and automatically. Be aware that sophisticated ransomware variants may sit idle for weeks until it is triggered, potentially destroying backups. Threat actors are also getting smarter, attacking backups to prevent recovery. That being said, there are various ways that enterprises can protect their backups from ransomware. They include:
- Supplement backups with additional copies kept in multiple locations.
- Isolate backups - The more barriers that exist between an infected system and its backups, the harder it will be for ransomware to attack these backups.
- Test backups frequently! Perform restoration exercises on a regular basis to identify any issues or vulnerabilities.
6. Protect email accounts with sender authentication
According to Verizon, 90% of data breaches involve phishing. Sender authentication using cryptographic standards and protocols helps prevent phishing attacks and protect email accounts against other threats like email spoofing and business email compromise (BEC) by providing a way to verify that an email actually comes from who it claims to be from. The most commonly used email authentication standards that make this verification possible are SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an open standard that specifies a method for preventing sender address forgery. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) provides an encryption key and a digital signature that verifies that an email message was not faked or altered. DMARC unifies mechanisms used in SPF and DKIM, allowing domain owners to declare how they would like email from that domain to be handled if it fails an authorization test.
Ideally, sender authentication should be implemented as part of a comprehensive cloud email security solution. As with any aspect of security, defense in depth is key to effective protection, and sender authentication is no exception. Look for a solution that utilizes SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to analyze and track the reputation of the sender.
7. Combat credential phishing in Office 365 with additional protection
Microsoft Office 365 is becoming an increasingly popular platform among enterprises, and its email system is now a bigger target for Internet thieves than ever before as a result. Despite existing Office 365 protection, Osterman Research reports an alarming 40% of Office 365 customers have experienced credential theft nevertheless. Additional protection is Office 365 is clearly necessary in protecting enterprises from credential phishing attack and account takeovers.
Office 365 email security is highly dependent upon defense in depth. Microsoft's basic email security features which constitute their Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) rely only on traditional filtering techniques, ineffective against today's targeted and sophisticated attacks. Look for an advanced cloud email security solution that complements the default security provided within Office 365, providing additional layers of intuitive, real-time protection.
8. Partner with a qualified enterprise level security provider for emails
Partnering with an expert in the email security industry is a great opportunity for your enterprise to receive next-generation email protection at a discounted price, along with other key benefits such as priority support services, new revenue opportunities, and technical, marketing and sales training and guidance. Guardian Digital, a leader in the industry, provides a highly advantageous worldwide partner program capable of taking both your email security and your profits to the next level.
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security: Comprehensive Email Protection for the Enterprise
Guardian Digital EnGarde Cloud Email Security provides comprehensive, future-proof enterprise email protection, keeping organizations ahead of the latest email threats. EnGarde can be seamlessly incorporated into enterprises’ existing email infrastructure and customized to meet organizations’ specific needs. Thus, EnGarde Cloud Email Security can easily and conveniently be implemented as a core component of any enterprise email security strategy. Fully managed and centrally hosted, EnGarde provides complete end-to-end control of enterprise email accounts, preventing malicious emails from reaching the inbox and mitigating the risk of human error. Benefits of securing your enterprise email with EnGarde include:
- Modern multi-layered architecture in which individual security features work seamlessly in concert to detect and combat threats in real time
- Scalable cloud-based system simplifies deployment and increases availability
- Secure endpoint encryption using TLS, DMARC, SPF and DKIM
- Zero-hour outbreak control protects against new, unknown threats
- Multiple leading antivirus engines and spam filtration technologies
- URL analysis and attachment scanning accurately identify malicious links and files
- Tighter security, adaptive implementation and eliminated risk of vendor lock-in through the use of a transparent, collaborative development approach
- Knowledgeable and highly accessible 24x7x365 customer support services
Do you have any questions about enterprise email security that haven’t been addressed in this article? Are you looking to improve your enterprise email security strategy but could use some help or advice? Guardian Digital would love the opportunity to discuss your questions and concerns regarding enterprise email security and help your organization start this decade off on a secure and productive note - contact us today!