Email Security Challenges that CEOs Face - Overview of Threats & Safeguards

Cyber risk has reached an all-time high in recent years, largely due to the increase in remote workers and the widespread migration to vulnerable, inadequately secured cloud platforms brought on by the pandemic. Email risk is the greatest form of cybersecurity risk businesses face, as over 90% of all modern cyberattacks begin with phishing emails. CEOs - especially CEOs of small- and medium-sized businesses - face significant email security challenges including a lack of resources and expertise and the growing threat of business email compromise (BEC) and whaling attacks impersonating them to target individuals in their organization in expertly crafted scams designs to steal sensitive information and large sums of money.


To make matters worse, CEOs are often held personally accountable for successful attacks. Luckily, there are measures CEOs can take to strengthen their email security posture, bolster IT resources, reduce risk exposure and protect their brand image. This article will examine the key email security challenges CEOs face and how to combat these challenges with effective fully-managed email security services.

Top Email Security Challenges CEOs Face in 2022

Shortage of Cybersecurity Resources & Expertise

Many businesses, especially SMBs, lack the cybersecurity resources and expertise required to protect against attacks. CEOs of small companies often lack a full-time IT department or mail administrator; however, even when the positions are filled, IT professionals are often not trained email security experts and fall short in the knowledge required to secure corporate email accounts.

CEOs often have a poor understanding of strategic cyber risk and don’t require critical additional security oversight controls to ensure they know the actual dimensions of the strategic risks. Another critical flaw is failing to understand the difference between IT staff and cyber staff. Many executives address cyber risk as if there’s an end-state solution with execution that is single-threaded, which focuses on remediation of a specific vulnerability.

Frequently Impersonated in Business Email Compromise (BEC) Attacks

To make matters worse, because of their role within the company and the access that they have to confidential information, CEOs are frequently impersonated in dangerous email scams. CEO fraud, also known as business email compromise (BEC) or whaling, is a popular attack cybercriminals use to target victims according to their role in the company and their access to valuable information. The threat works by impersonating CEOs to target individuals in their organization to gain access to sensitive information or money. These attacks are often successful because they will conduct extensive social engineering research on their targets to make their emails seem authentic.

Increased Risk & Accountability for Cyberattacks

This risk has only been heightened in recent years, as more businesses are relying on cloud infrastructure, which presents different security challenges such as security misconfigurations either due to a lack of awareness or the rush to move to the cloud, negligent behavior, and increased risk due to remote workers.

As consumers lower tolerance for breaches, 40% of them hold CEOs responsible for cybersecurity lapses. Gartner predicts that by 2024, 75% of CEOs will be held personally accountable for cyberattacks that lead to injury and other physical damage.

How To Combat Modern Email Security Challenges as a CEO

More organizations are implementing managed email security services in response to the current wave of ransomware attacks. This resource works to improve security by maximizing productivity, simplifying deployment, and easing the load on your IT department by assisting with setup and providing the ongoing system monitoring and maintenance required to keep you safe, expert guidance, and providing a remote extension of your IT department.

Businesses should also consider technology that provides complete cloud-based BEC, whaling, and CEO fraud protection that include:

  • Machine Learning (ML) algorithms combined with a role-based, contextual analysis of email communications to identify threats that go undetected by Google and Microsoft.
  • Scanning and quarantining all emails and files in real-time to protect against insider threats.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques to rapidly adapt to new threats and behaviors.
  • Complete account takeover (ATO) protection through behavioral analysis and the analysis of hundreds of thousands of email attributes.
  • Real-time cybersecurity business insights provided via an interactive Dashboard administrative portal, allowing complete visibility into your email security and the threats targeting your organization to reduce risk exposure and enable improved cybersecurity business planning and better enforcement of company policies


CEOs carry great responsibility and face heightened cyber risk in recent years. Email security has emerged as a primary concern and a significant challenge among CEOs. By investing in a fully-managed email security solution that provides the adaptive technology required to stop BEC and whaling attacks and the expert ongoing monitoring, maintenance, support, and guidance needed to ensure key business assets remain safe in this heightened digital threat environment, CEOs can rest easy knowing their users, their business and their reputation is secure.

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