Email Security Intelligence - 5 Email Security Resolutions Every CIO Should Make in 2023

The increasing number of businesses facing cyberattacks is a demonstration of the evolving digital threat landscape. Fifty-six percent of Americans need to be made aware of what steps to utilize in preventing or stopping data or email security breaches.

Attackers use cyberattacks to gain access to information systems and networks, devices, and infrastructures, using one of several methods that can steal or destroy data. These methods may include malware, ransomware, phishing, or a virus. 

Email is the preferred method of communication among businesses and the primary vector for distributed attacks. The most critical ways cybercrime can affect businesses today include increased costs, operational disruption, reputational damage, lost revenue, and data loss. Small businesses spend an average of $955,000 per attack to restore normal operations. Because of this, your company must implement anti-phishing protection as part of an all-in-one, cloud-based email security platform, as this is the most effective way to defend against emerging attacks. This article will provide five email security resolutions every CIO should make to foster safety and success in their business this year.

Email Security Resolutions for the Security-Conscious CIO

Engage in Email Security Best Practices 

The best practices for email security used to be summarized as using strong passwords, blocking spammers, not trusting offers that are too good to be true, and verifying requests even from trusted sources. Today, email requires a more robust set of practices to protect against costly cyber threat types, including:

Educate Staff on Email Threats & Email Security

Invest in employee email security awareness training and education regarding email threats. Employees are a company's last line of defense when it comes to ensuring a secure email account for businesses. They must understand the importance of their actions and the severe repercussions downloading or clicking on a malicious link or attachment can have on a company.

Utilize Email Encryption

Encryption is scrambling information so that only authorized users can access it. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are an encryption-based technology that helps secure the communication between a sender and a receiver. Users should also consider implementing email protection against spoofing, sender fraud, and impersonation attacks via the SPF, DKIM, and DMARC email authentication protocols.

Implement Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires various methods of verification to confirm the user's identity for logins and other transactions. MFA combines the user's credentials to ensure that the user logging into the account is the owner. The credentials include what you know (knowledge), what you have (possession), and what you are (inheritance).

Back-Up Important Files 

Organizations should back up critical files frequently and automatically to reduce the potential damage of an attack. Backups should have additional copies in multiple locations that are isolated. Test backups frequently to make sure they are safe from malware and phishing attempts. You can use methods like sandboxing malware to properly test the security of your files. Perform restoration exercises regularly to identify any issues or vulnerabilities.

Strengthen Your Email Security Strategy with Additional Layers of Cyber Threat Protection

Many businesses rely on endpoint security to safeguard users and critical business assets. Endpoint security is a good first start, but you can use additional layers of proactive email protection accompanied by expert, ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support, which would be more effective in combating sophisticated and evolving email threats. This cyber threat protection must anticipate and learn from emerging attacks and offer real-time cybersecurity business insights to improve decision-making and email security policy enforcement. 

Understand Business Email Risk

An email security risks assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of your organization's email-borne cyber weaknesses due to phishing, ransomware, and other malicious email threats to businesses. This test will provide valuable insight into the perils your business faces, the people within your organization who are at the most significant risk of being targeted, and the effectiveness of your current email security strategy. An email risk assessment equips businesses with the information they need to identify gaps in their existing email security defenses and improve their digital security posture to prevent cyberattacks and breaches. 

Strengthen Native Cloud Email Protection with Critical Additional Layers of Security 

Despite the existing email protection provided by Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) in Microsoft 365, 85% of users have experienced an email data breach over the past year. Microsoft 365 email security falls short in safeguarding users and critical business assets against credential phishing, account takeovers, and other daily dangerous threats that cloud email users face. Limitations in EOP create vulnerabilities that businesses can no longer afford. These limitations include:

  • Subpar protection: EOP is static and single-layered. It takes a retrospective approach to identify all types of phishing attacks and to stop malware attacks that do not safeguard against human error. EOP fails to anticipate emerging zero-day attacks, malicious URLs, and attachments that are not included in its static lists.
  • Lack of customization for businesses' unique needs: EOP is not customizable, resulting in a limited ability to identify suspicious emails and social engineering attacks, leaving businesses vulnerable to account takeovers and targeted spear phishing emails that often result in credential theft.
  • Easier for attackers to bypass defenses due to homogeneous architecture: the homogeneity of the Microsoft 365 security system enables cyber thieves to open an account, test their methods until they can bypass default filters, and reuse these methods in attacks targeting thousands of different accounts.
  • Difficult to configure & manage securely: setting up and configuring requires expert IT, which many SMBs lack. At the same time, Microsoft also fails to assist with setup and ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support to prevent misconfiguration vulnerabilities and keep customers secure. Microsoft 365 also needs more support for hybrid work environments, so these businesses often need help understanding how to layer and combine the different Microsoft 365 security solutions available effectively.

To bolster built-in email protection and reap the benefits of Microsoft 365 without sacrificing security, businesses should implement a comprehensive supplementary email security software solution specifically designed to fill the critical voids in built-in Microsoft 365 email protection.


Bolster Endpoint Security with Proactive Third-Party Protection

Over 90% of cyberattacks and breaches are initiated via email despite the widespread use of endpoint threat protection. With one in five SMBs experiencing an email-borne cyberattack daily, it is apparent that endpoint security solutions, which work at the client level on devices such as laptops, desktops, and mobile phones, are limited in their ability to anticipate and block advanced and emerging email threats like targeted spear phishing emails and malware ransomware, which are the cause of over 90% of all cyberattacks and email security breaches. Critical limitations of endpoint threat protection include:

  • They cannot intercept traffic between an attacker and a target, leaving corporate networks, cloud-based services, and sensitive data vulnerable to compromise.
  • Endpoint threat protection takes a non-specific, retrospective approach to address email security risks, leaving the responsibility of identifying and responding to these threats in the hands of the end user. Since antivirus products fail to detect 60% of attacks on average, endpoint threat protection makes human error a significant risk that businesses rely on to ensure they have a secure email.
  • Endpoint security providers do not consider businesses' unique security needs and fail to provide the expert ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support required to enhance IT security, close visibility gaps, and ensure that solutions are kept up-to-date and secure.

More companies are acknowledging that they have too much at risk in the event of a successful attack to rely solely on endpoint threat protection to secure their users and critical assets. Email security is not a commodity but a necessity, and while endpoint security is a great start, it is ineffective in combating today's sophisticated and rapidly evolving email threats without additional layers of proactive email protection accompanied by expert, ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support. This protection must anticipate and learn from emerging attacks and offer real-time cybersecurity business insights to improve decision-making and policy enforcement. 

Extend IT Resources to Improve Security with Fully-Managed Email Security Services

For many businesses - especially SMBs - a lack of cyber security tools, resources, and expertise remains an ongoing challenge. Small businesses often need a full-time IT department or mail administrator, and even with these positions filled, organizations cannot rely on IT professionals, who are often not trained email security experts, to secure corporate email accounts.

Many businesses believe they are too small to be the victim of an attack. However, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are often targeted more frequently, as attackers recognize and take advantage of the fact that these companies typically have smaller email security teams and limited budgets for cyber defense. Data reveals that most small businesses cannot recover from an attack, and 60% of small companies leave within six months of getting hit with ransomware.

To fortify business email against today's most advanced attacks, organizations must have a fully-managed email security software solution in place designed to protect against the specific threats each business faces, to provide the level of expertise and support needed to safeguard sensitive data and other vital assets in this modern digital threat environment. With an intuitive, multi-layered design, your solution must offer various layers of cyber security tools that detect and block threats in real-time and build on each other to provide more effective cyber threat protection.

Keep Learning About Preparing for Cyberattacks

These goals go beyond any singular tech initiative, as innovation has never been as extensive and fast-moving as expected in 2024, increasing the urgency to make decisions to help us navigate the incoming technology stream.

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