5 Email Security Resolutions Every CIO Should Make in 2023
- by Justice Levine
The evolving digital threat landscape is seen by the increasing number of cyberattacks against businesses, and 56% of Americans are unaware of what steps to take to prevent or in the event of a data breach. Attackers use cyberattacks with the intention of gaining access to information systems and networks, devices, and infrastructures, by using one of several methods that are able to 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 distributing attacks. Some of the most critical ways cybercrime can affect businesses today include increased costs, operational disruption, reputational damage, and lost revenue. Small businesses spend an average of $955,000 per attack to restore normal operations. Because of this, it is crucial that your company implement anti-phishing protection as part of an all-in-one, cloud-based 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 security and success in their business this year.
Email Security Resolutions for the Security-Conscious CIO
Engage in Email Security Best Practices
Email security best practices could once 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 stronger set of best practices to protect against costly cyber threats that include:
Educate Staff on Email Threats & Email Security
Invest in employee education and security awareness training about email threats and email security. Employees are a company’s 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.
Utilize Email Encryption
Encryption is the process of scrambling information so that only authorized users can access it. SSL certificates are an encryption-based technology that helps secure the communication between sender and receiver. Users should also consider implementing SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, three protocols that are highly effective in combating sender fraud.
Implement Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) requires multiple authentication methods to confirm the user’s identity for logins and other transactions. MFA combines the user’s credentials to confirm 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. To protect backups from malicious attacks, supplement backups with additional copies kept in multiple locations; isolate backups and test backups frequently. Perform restoration exercises on a regular basis to identify any issues or vulnerabilities.
Strengthen Your Email Security Strategy with Proactive Additional Layers of Protection
Many businesses continue to make the mistake of relying on endpoint security alone to safeguard users and key business assets. Endpoint security is a good first start, but it is ineffective in combating sophisticated and evolving threats without additional layers of proactive protection accompanied by expert, ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support. This protection must be able to anticipate and learn from emerging attacks and offer the real-time cybersecurity business insights required to improve decision-making and policy enforcement.
Understand Business Email Risk
An email risk assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of the email-borne cyber risk your organization faces due to phishing, ransomware, and other malicious threats to business email. This assessment will provide you with valuable insight into the threats your business faces, the people within your organization who are at the greatest risk of being targeted in an attack, 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 key business assets against credential phishing, account takeovers, and the other dangerous threats that cloud email users face daily. Limitations in EOP create vulnerabilities that businesses can no longer afford. These limitations include:
- Protection is subpar: EOP is static, single-layered, takes a retrospective approach to identify phishing attacks and stop malware attacks that do not safeguard against human error and fail 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 attacks 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 any account, test their methods until they are able to 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 lacks support for hybrid work environments, so these businesses often find it difficult to understand how to effectively layer and combine the different Microsoft security solutions available.
To bolster built-in email protection and reap the benefits of Microsoft 365 without sacrificing security, businesses should implement a proactive, multi-layered supplementary email security solution. The solution should be designed specifically to fill the critical voids in built-in Microsoft 365 email protection with the following characteristics and capabilities:
- Phishing & malware protection: with an intelligent auto-learn system that leverages the open source community to anticipate and block advanced and emerging threats in real-time. An intelligent, multi-layered email vigilance supplements the inherent gaps in EOP’s protection, such as polymorphic virus and fileless malware protection.
- Account takeover protection: leveraging advanced AI-based technology to detect the conversation-style anomalies that are characteristic of email account compromise (EAC) and business email compromise (BEC) scams. Protection is customized to address businesses’ specific security requirements.
- System monitoring, maintenance & support: fortifies Microsoft 365 with critical additional layers of security, fully supported by the ongoing system monitoring and support required for early detection of potential issues. The security system offers the real-time cybersecurity business insights that are needed to keep businesses secure and productive via an interactive dashboard.
Bolster Endpoint Security with Proactive Third-Party Protection
over 90% of cyberattacks and breaches are initiated via email despite the widespread use of endpoint 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 threats like targeted spear phishing and ransomware which are the cause of over 90% of all cyberattacks and breaches. Critical limitations of endpoint protection include:
- Endpoint security solutions cannot intercept traffic between an attacker and a target, leaving corporate networks, cloud-based services, and sensitive data vulnerable to compromise.
- Endpoint protection takes a non-specific, retrospective approach to address email risk, leaving the responsibility of identifying and responding to these threats in the hands of the end-user. Given that antivirus products fail to detect 60% of attacks on average, human error is a significant risk that businesses rely solely on endpoint protection to secure their email face.
- Endpoint security providers do not take businesses’ unique security needs into consideration 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 protection to secure their users and key assets. Email security is not a commodity, but a necessity. Endpoint security is a great start, however, it is ineffective in combating today’s sophisticated and rapidly evolving threats without additional layers of proactive protection accompanied by expert, ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support. This protection must be able to anticipate and learn from emerging attacks and offer the real-time cybersecurity business insights required 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 resources and expertise continues to be an ongoing challenge. Small businesses often lack 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 have the mentality that they are too small to be the victim of an attack, however, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are actually often targeted. Attackers recognize and often take advantage of the fact that these companies typically have smaller security teams and limited budgets for cyber defense. Data reveals that most small businesses are not able to recover from an attack, and 60% of small companies go out of business within six months of getting hit with ransomware.
In order to fortify business email against today’s most advanced attacks, it is essential that organizations have a fully-managed email security solution in place, designed to protect against the specific threats each individual business faces, to provide the level of expertise and support needed to safeguard sensitive data and other key assets in this modern digital threat environment. With an intuitive, multi-layered design, your solution must offer various layers of security that detect and block threats in real-time and build on each other to provide more effective protection.
These goals go beyond any singular tech initiative. Innovation has never been as extensive and fast-moving as expected in 2023, increasing the urgency to make decisions that will help us navigate the incoming technology stream.
- Prepare your business for cyberattacks to make sure employees stay safe online.
- Improve your email security posture by following best practices to protect against attacks and breaches.
- Keeping the integrity of your email safe requires securing the cloud with spam filtering and enterprise-grade anti-spam services.
- Learn more about the consequences of modern phishing attacks in our Phishing eBook.
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