Email Security Intelligence - Email Security Solutions Explained

Effective email security defenses are of critical importance to businesses’ security and success, especially in this heightened digital threat environment we face due to the pandemic. In fact, over 90% of modern cyberattacks begin with phishing emails. Threats like targeted spear phishing, fileless malware, and zero-day attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and difficult to detect. If successful these attacks carry great costs for victims including data theft, significant, costly downtime, financial loss, and severe, lasting reputation damage.


Static built-in email protection in Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and endpoint security solutions were once enough to secure email against attacks and breaches, but those days have come to an end. Securing business email in 2022 and beyond requires a defense-in-depth strategy that includes the key characteristics that will be introduced in this article. 

Comparing Features of Effective Business Email Security Solution

1. Multi-Layered Architecture

Effective email security is contingent upon defense in depth - no single security feature alone is enough to fortify email against advanced and emerging attacks. A solution should include various features and technologies engineered to work harmoniously to detect and block threats in real-time, building on each other to provide stronger, more effective protection than any of these features would on its own.

2. Closes Critical Gaps in Built-In Microsoft 365 Email Protection

Despite built-in email protection in Microsoft 365, 85% of users have experienced an email data breach over the past year. Additional layers of security provided by a third-party email security solution designed to close critical gaps in static native Microsoft 365 email protection are required to make Microsoft 365 safe for business. Protection should provide complete phishing, malware, and account takeover protection, as well as expert, ongoing system monitoring maintenance and support.

3. Expert Managed Services & Accessible Support

The best email security solutions are accompanied by expert, ongoing managed services. Ongoing system monitoring, maintenance, and support can simplify administration, extend IT resources, improve security and reduce costs - delivering a rapid return on investment (ROI). Experts should work with you to understand your security needs, identify individuals within your organization who are most likely to be targeted in an attack, and closely monitor them to watch for targeted threats.

4. Malicious URL Protection

Phishing is the predominant modern cybersecurity threat that businesses face. Since the majority of phishing emails leverage malicious links to trick users into sharing sensitive credentials or installing malware on their devices, malicious URL protection is critically important in securing business email. HTML email allows users to hover over a link to view its destination, but the reality is that the majority of us do not engage in this best practice. URL rewriting, a strategy used by many email security solutions, can provide a false sense of security, as it is often only fully understood by IT professionals. Ideally it should extract links from Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, archive files, and other file types and conduct a dynamic real-time analysis of these files in order to detect malicious URLs leading to compromise.

5. Email Authentication Protocols

Email authentication protocols - namely, SPF, DMARC, and DKIM - are crucial in preventing spoofing sender fraud and protecting sensitive information. These standards verify sender identity and confirm the legitimacy of email communications. An effective solution goes beyond standard measures of email authentication, tracking hundreds of thousands of message attributes including sender-recipient relationships, domain reputation, email headers, and envelope attributes, and message content.

6. Complete Spam & Virus Protection

Spam and viruses are serious, persistent threats to all email users and are not only annoying, but it can also contain dangerous links and attachments, and an email virus can result in inconvenient, costly downtime for businesses. With the prevalence of social engineering, polymorphic viruses, and other modern evasion techniques, spam filters and signature-based antivirus software alone are no longer sufficient to secure email against spam and viruses. The most effective email security solutions perform predictive spam and virus detection through heuristics analysis - an advanced technique that scans messages for characteristics and behaviors that are unique to spam email.

The Bottom Line

With existing threats rapidly evolving and new threats emerging, effective email security has never been more crucial to the safety and success of your business. To secure business email against modern attacks, we recommend implementing a third-party email security solution like Guardian Digital's Cloud Email Security Solution that has all the key characteristics and features discussed in the article above.

Read Guide to choosing best email security provider here.

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