Most people don't realize the importance of email security, which is to their detriment as emails are a prime vector for hackers to attack. Email is the preferred method of communication among businesses and because most computer viruses can be found within email messages, more users are targeted victims of malware, worms, and phishing attacks.

Now more than ever it is imperative that you protect your business against dangerous emails designed to damage your computer, infiltrate your network, and invade your privacy. One of the most important measures you can have in place to protect yourself or your business is to implement a proactive, multi-layered email security system. This article will discuss the key benefits of an effective email security system and the characteristics it should possess.

Why Email Security Is Important

Businesses were once able to make do with little to no email security protocols in place, but now more than ever, businesses cannot afford to cut corners on email security. Attackers position themselves with the help of advanced, stealthy mechanisms like fileless malware and zero-day attacks to exploit the latest trends. This effectively leaves traditional security technology without defense. Small and large businesses can benefit from implementing a proactive, multi-layered email security system, capable of fending off both visible threats and the ones we can’t see.

Email Security prevents cyber threats such as social engineering attacks from targeting organizations via email. Small businesses in particular have more of a risk of being the victim of cyberattacks as criminals often target SMBs because they tend to lack an IT team or security solution.

Successful phishing attacks can cause lasting consequences for businesses of all sizes that fail to have a proper security strategy in place. 90% of cyberattacks are the result of a phishing campaign, and the damage can have lasting consequences including:

  • Data theft
  • Financial loss
  • Harm to your reputation
  • Recovery costs
  • Loss in employee morale
  • Permanent closure

Shortcomings of Traditional Email Security

Traditional email security solutions, such as Microsoft 365, fall short in safeguarding users and business assets. In fact, 85% of Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) users have experienced a data breach over the past year. Companies that rely on legacy email security solutions face several challenges because of the technology's shortcomings.

Common Email Security Challenges

  • Protection is static, single-layered, and fails to anticipate attacks: strategies that take a retrospective approach to identify phishing and malware attacks fail to safeguard against human error and anticipate emerging zero-day attacks and malicious URLs and attachments that are not included shortcomings traditional email securityin their static lists.
  • Lack of customization tools for businesses’ individual needs: a lack of customization results in limited capabilities to identify suspicious emails and social engineering attacks. This leaves businesses vulnerable to account takeovers and targeted spear phishing attacks that can lead to credential theft.
  • Homogeneous architecture enables attackers to bypass security defenses: Cyber thieves can 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 because of the homogeneity of the Microsoft 365 security system.
  • Difficult to securely configure: Many SMBs lack the IT expertise required by the Microsoft 365 setup and configuration process. Microsoft also fails to provide assistance with setup and ongoing system monitoring, maintenance and required support that prevents misconfiguration vulnerabilities to keep Microsoft 365 customers secure.
  • Cloud email platform exposed to unauthorized access and abuse: Traditional email security solutions focus on inbound email attacks only. Employees have access to their email accounts with legacy authentication protocols that bypass multi-factor authentication. Additionally, security teams lack visibility of the owner’s settings and third-party application integrations which may increase risks for the organization.
  • Limited ability to detect compromised email accounts: legacy solutions focus on detecting irregularities within the content of an email, rather than on user behavior. Because of this, they lack visibility into user identity and behavior attributes that can reveal a hijacked email account.

There’s no room for outdated and ineffective solutions when it comes to your organization’s email security. Organizations are quickly moving away from traditional secure email gateways and to cloud email security platforms that leverage behavioral analysis and data science with modern architecture.

Features of An Effective Strategy

Effective email protection requires defense in depth, as no single security feature or piece of antivirus software is sufficient in protecting against today’s sophisticated email threats. Instead, the solution should draw on a combination of featureffective email security strategy es and characteristics designed to work harmoniously to offer the highest level of protection, address common shortcomings of default, and third-party email security to mitigate risk and defend against threats that businesses face daily. Together, these features should provide: 

  • Phishing, spoofing, and impersonation protection.
  • Malware and ransomware protection.
  • Zero-day attack protection.
  • Multi-layered design powered by open-source technology.
  • Dynamic link and file analysis.
  • Heuristics-based spam and virus protection.
  • SPF, DKIM, and DMARC checking.
  • End-to-end encryption.
  • Comprehensive management and support services.

Keep Learning

Minimizing email-related risks can have a dramatic impact on an organization's exposure to cybersecurity threats. Your email security strategy should provide you with the caliber of intuitive, layered protection necessary to protect your business against today’s advanced threats. 


Looking for additional resources? Have a look at our Email Security Tips, subscribe to our newsletter for the latest email security tips, information, and insights, and evaluate your current email security posture using our free Email Risk Assessment Tool.

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