The Need for Email Security

Why Email Security is a must for every company

Why is there a Need for Email Security?

Electronic mail has become completely ingrained into the way our communities and companies communicate in the 21st century. In 2015, there was over 205 billion emails sent every day, and that figure is expected to rise by 5% within the next year. With email playing such an important role in our everyday society, it’s important to know what makes email so vulnerable to attacks, and why there is a need for email security for every company.

The Simple Nature of Email

Email may seem safe to the everyday user but without certain precautions, information and messages are defenseless against eavesdropping, hijacking, or much worse.

While almost everyone knows how to send or receive an email, the same can not be said for the understanding of how that email was sent or received.  If a user doesn’t understand the basics of how email works they won’t know what security issues may face them and leave themselves vulnerable to attacks.

Email is inherently insecure for a variety of reasons, however there are three major issues that stand out.

  • Simple Communications

    The ability to communicate with anyone anywhere, at any time; is what makes email such an incredible and important tool. Users of all ages and technical abilities can use email seamlessly, thanks to the simple and easy-to-use nature of email. This simple nature has allowed email to grow into the massive communication service it is today, but it is also a giant weakness.

    The simple path an email takes when sent, leaves messages and information exposed. Anyone with the right knowledge can intercept, read and edit, or even place viruses and malware into the email.

  • Public Networks

    As mentioned above, when an email is sent, the information in the email is unsecured and can become visible to others. This is a major problem as the path emails take when sent (as with all internet based technology), travel through other people’s property.

    The electronic signal (email) will travel through servers belonging to other organizations to get to and from your desired destination company. These other organizations can easily stop, read, and edit the original email as it passes through their server, then send it on.

  • Too Simple to Resist

    The simple nature and the ease of gaining access to emails is what attracts most hackers and bad characters to it. When an email is sent un-encrypted, gaining access to the data and content is a quick and easy task. Organizations and governments have tried to take advantage of email’s simplicity by offering money and other incentives in exchange for intercepting or copying emails.

the need for email security the simple nature of email

Human Error & Behavior

Human error is a major threat to a company’s email security; it accounts for 25% of all data breaches within the US and can cause major losses. Employees should always be trained on why there a need for email security, how important it is, and how to know emails are completely secure.
Employee error isn’t the only way an email/confidential information can be left vulnerable or leaked. Companies will always be susceptible to malicious employees who will intentionally send out confidential information for money, to ruin the reputation, or to start a competing business.

The best way to combat user security flaws is to ensure that email security policies are clearly explained and understood by all company employees. These policies will help to reduce human error and identify clear set rules to help decrease the chance of employee data leaks.

Training employees on how to identify and question suspicious looking emails will also help decrease the chances of human security flaws. As scammers are getting more sophisticated with their techniques, making it hard for even IT professionals to spot, the need for email security is increasing. Putting employees in a phishing awareness training program ensures that all users aware and prepared for even the newest techniques of attack.

Need for email security human error and behavior image

Technical Attacks

Technological based email problems require both end user education and technical solutions. These attacks come in many different forms, and effect the host machine in various ways. They are highly dangerous and can cost a company millions in ransom, repair, or other fees; highlighting the need for email security.

  • Viruses

    Email viruses come in a variety of forms and each can affect the
    computer in different ways. Once installed onto a computer, viruses can infect master boot records, delete user information, hold user information hostage (through encryption), and much worse.

    Viruses can be time consuming and frustrating to remove once they infect a machine. The best way for a company to deal with these types of attacks is to ensure their email security includes Anti-Virus Filter. This decreases the risk of virus installs by removing the infected emails from the system before an employee can view or download the infected attachment.

  • Phishing Attacks

    Phishing attacks target the user and intentionally try and fool them into entering their information or credentials into a fraudulent site. Phishing emails will look as if they came from an official source (using email spoofing) and is linked to what appears to be an official site.

    Like viruses, the best defense against phishing attacks is to have a comprehensive email security service that includes an email filtering service. However, unlike viruses, phishing emails have a bigger chance to get through the filter, due to its authentic-looking nature.

    Employers should ensure employees know how to identify secure websites and what to do if they come across a phishing email/website.

  • Denial of Service

    Independent of human error, a denial of service attack (DoS attack), is designed to overload the company’s mail server, impeding usual functionality. These attacks flood the mail server with a large volume of incoming emails and attachments and cause major time-wasting inconveniences.

    To safeguard against DoS attacks, company’s should verify that their email security service is based over multiple resilient data centers.

need for email security techincal attacks
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