Email Protection is an essential part of any modern organizations IT administration. In 2017 alone, the average business employee received 16 targeted, malicious emails every month. An email protection system plays a critical role in stopping threats, like these, from reaching your employees' inbox. In addition, a complete email protection system is capable of protecting your employees from liability and human error, which both also have the potential to cause financial damage and disrupt everyday business routine.
The Purpose of This Guide
We built this buyer’s guide to direct you towards a complete solution for protecting your emails, employees, and data. We know how difficult it can be to understand everything required to ensure safe and secure email—this guide will educate you on the features you should look for when developing a security infrastructure capable of protecting your organization from email-borne attacks and data loss. While you may have one or more parts of a complete email protection solution, it’s important to understand how to effectively protect your organization against all known issues.
Understanding Email Protection
Email protection is the multi-level protection of business email which entails traditional email security—designed to protect inboxes from malware, phishing, and other cyber attacks—combined with modern employee education and training, as well as archiving and compliance solutions. This multi-layered strategy provides total protection for your email infrastructure, so you can focus on the things that matter most to your business.
Choosing the Right Email Protection Solution
Email Security & Fraud Protection
The first step in developing an email protection solution for your organization requires building a detailed security infrastructure, designed to protect your organization's inboxes from cyber attacks. This solution should be built out of multiple security systems, all designed to guarantee the safety of your organizations employees and data:
Inbound and Outbound Protection
The importance of filtering can’t be overstated—automating inbound filtering of suspicious messages can stop major threats from ever entering your employees' inboxes, and outbound filtering can prevent outbound attacks that originate from an infected system inside the network. Employees can inadvertently cause internal systems to become a source for botnet spam, so identifying and stopping that spam is an important first step towards removing the security threat altogether.
Corporate email is a gateway for data loss or seizure, network failure, and loss of employee productivity. A strong anti-spam offering should be capable of assessing the quality of incoming emails to help stop suspicious messages in their tracks before they hurt your organization.
Detailed Policy Controls
When IT administrators are given customizable controls of email security systems, they can automate the monitoring and archiving of incoming correspondence. Messages can be indexed and then later mined for forensic analysis. Suspicious activity can often go unnoticed but if there is an automated solution, organizations can worry less about the details of each individual message. Make sure your email security is capable of providing granular policy controls, so your IT administrators can effectively target critical email channels—especially the messages and employee inboxes with sensitive data.
Preemptively catching dynamic threats is essential for organizations lacking the resources and expertise to manually filter and sort through all suspicious messages. A great email security solution stops threats by automatically checking for known malware types, and sandboxing them when discovered. Sandboxing allows for suspicious attachments to “detonate” in a quarantined location so IT experts can quickly assess the danger of a suspicious file without any worry of the threat spreading to other systems.
There is no way to stop a spammer from using any one email address for the spam they send out. There are however things that can be done to help prevent this from becoming a huge problem. In tandem with domain name validation, sender spoofing can be a real threat unless you provide proper training and awareness of responsible email security protocols. It’s important to protect against spammers who might "spoof" a domain or otherwise hide the identity of the true sender as this practice can lead to data loss or seizure from a malicious party.
One tactic popular with cybercriminals is to place links within email messages which appear to point to real content while actually pointing at a slightly rewritten URL (eg. using www.linkedln.com, where the I is actually a lowercase L). Automatically scanning emails for invalid links and rewriting those links before final delivery helps users avoid malicious messages. A strong email protection system can automatically identify tactics like this so employees aren’t duped into clicking on the wrong thing.
Emails can travel through many different servers before reaching their intended mailbox. Organizations are responsible for the protection of sensitive information, like financial records, employee data, customer lists, and more. Therefore, robust encryption options ensure that an organization complies with regulations designed to protect customer data, such as HIPAA. When looking for the right email protection system, modern encryption guarantees can go a long way towards stopping attacks.
Look for email security systems that can ensure emails are still delivered even during server failure or temporary connection loss. In the event of on-premises disruptions, email can be spooled, with alternate destinations also being specified if delivery to the primary destination fails.
Legal Compliance and Data Loss Prevention
One integral part of a comprehensive email protection solution involves data protection and regulated, automated compliance. Whether a business suffers data loss from cyber attacks or accidental data deletion (70% of business data loss in 2018 was caused by the accidental deletion of data) a robust archival system is necessary.
You should look for an archival system capable of ensuring complete recovery in the event of catastrophic data loss, so your employees can recover critical communications and attachments. In tandem with data loss prevention, it’s important to know your business is maintaining up-to-date compliance across your email storage and archives. With the recent adoption of GDPR, and an increased legislative focus on data security in the United States, compliance assurance is an essential part of a robust email protection system:
You should look for an email retention system that covers all emails sent or received by an organization, and contains customizable criteria such as the length of time emails should be stored, and in what manner they should be removed from the email archive. Make sure that your email archival system guarantees it’s retention policies are robust. They should ensure that accurate and fully compliant copies of every email sent or received are being retained for a required period of time.
Email Server Failover and Backup
With the always-available nature of modern organizations, it’s important that your email protection system provides safeguards like cloud-based failover services and cloud backups in case your primary email services become unavailable. With the large volume of correspondence found in organizations today, emails and important attachments are susceptible to corruption, and they risk being unrecoverable due to malicious attacks or even accidental deletion. To protect against this, you need a robust cloud or appliance-based backup solution, that can ensure long-term retention of your email archives.
Business email necessitates compliance with email retention policies. Even when it’s no longer at risk of being compromised by a cyber attack, email still needs to be stored securely and be retrievable, for legal and business reasons.
Both appliance and cloud-based archives of all email communication ensure that organizations meet demanding business and legal requirements. It’s important to look for systems that follow the accepted approach for compliance which is archiving original copies of every collected email into an isolated, safeguarded container, maintained appropriately for long-term preservation.
E-discovery requests by legal authorities are an expected requirement of business operations, but they can be frustrating to manage if a proper archiving system isn’t in place. When not properly set, your skilled technical staff will be forced to dedicate valuable time and resources collecting the necessary correspondence and attachments. In tandem with requests, regulatory audits can also slow down your staff and can be difficult to pass when your archival system is incomplete or stored on multiple servers across offices.
Look for an email protection solution that guarantees, simple, straightforward recovery and access of archived emails for e-discovery purposes. It should have a central repository, accessible from anywhere, with robust access privileges, so your support staff can provide legal compliance quickly and efficiently.
Spear Phishing & BEC Protection
The right email protection solution understands that employee education is the best defense against cyber attacks like spear phishing and malware. Knowing what to look for, and where to look, helps you and your employees proactively avoid security breaches—an effective email protection solution will provide a multi-tiered defense through user training and artificial intelligence to protect against phishing, spear phishing, and BEC attacks:
Employee Education & Training
With employees being the target of spear phishing attacks, it’s important that you train and educate them on how to avoid succumbing to the pressures of a well-placed phishing email. Effective employee education is measured by the quality of their training resources. The best results come from resources capable of providing example attacks, education checklists, and real-time training exercises. With modern BYOD policies, a strong email protection solution will provide these training resources to your employees on all devices, from desktop to mobile, so you can be assured that they can identify threats on all platforms.
Intelligent Threat Detection
While you may have a robust email security gateway capable of filtering out traditional cyber attacks like malware, viruses, and phishing, you should look for an intelligent, self-learning protection system, capable of keeping up with advanced email attacks like spear-phishing and BEC.
Recent developments in AI means modern solutions to cybersecurity are capable of protecting against more advanced, user specific attack types. Through machine learning, AI detection can scan your businesses internal communications patterns, making it easier to identify out-of-place message content and suspicious communication volume. If your business has a real issue with modern social engineering attacks, you need a solution like this so you don’t have to rely on your employees to identify every threat that makes its way past an email filter.
Managing and organizing so many features can make the idea of email protection sound overwhelming—how are you supposed to manage all of these security systems on top of maintaining your normal email infrastructure? The answer is simple. You should look for an email protection system that integrates directly into your baseline email infrastructure.
With over 125 million users, Office 365 is the de-facto platform for business operations around the world. Integration with Microsoft platforms should be mandatory and designed to work around all the features already present in Exchange 2013. This ensures that IT administrators aren’t stuck doubling up filtering policies, archival access privileges, or anything else.
The Importance of Email Protection
The traditional approach to email security blocks spam and malware at the gateway before it enters an organization and enforces policy controls at this point. While these measures are still necessary, they fail to secure against modern email threats such as spear phishing attacks, account takeover, business fraud, and data loss.
Email protection is an essential part of data security in organizations today. Employee accounts can be compromised, and users can be tricked, and so there have to be strategies in place to prevent these issues. In tandem with these security measures, email has to be preservable for legal, regulatory, and other business reasons. While email storage is itself inexpensive, and email can be quickly scanned, collated, and interpreted—digital archiving presents a challenge because files are only as archivable as the systems designed to keep them stored. Proper techniques must be used to guarantee secure access to email storage over the long term.
Barracuda Products for Email Protection
Barracuda offers several products to help you build and maintain a strong email protection system. While each individual product provides immediate protection for its respective threat vector, it is important to remember that complete email protection requires multi-level security where independent parts work together to protect against even the most unforeseeable events.
Cloud Services and Products
Barracuda Essentials is an all-in-one cloud-based email security, backup, archiving and e-discovery for Office 365 and Microsoft Exchange. This powerful email security solution not only provides award-winning protection but also allows users to store and easily access email records. Barracuda Essentials is a perfect option for those needing both state of the art email protection and preservation for their Office 365 or Microsoft Exchange subscriptions.
Barracuda Sentinel provides powerful AI-based protection from spear phishing, email fraud, and other common phishing attacks. With advanced artificial intelligence techniques and deep integration with Office 365, it stops attacks before they reach your mail server, as well as detects threats already sitting in your inbox.
Barracuda Phishline guards against every facet of social-engineering threats with continuous simulation and training for employees. It shows users the latest attack techniques and how to recognize the subtle clues to help stop email fraud, data loss, and brand damage.
Barracuda Email Security Gateway is an email security gateway that manages and filters all inbound and outbound email traffic to protect organizations from email-borne threats and data leaks. Combining a variety of modern encryption techniques along with spam filtering and email spooling, the Barracuda Email Security Gateway is a powerful tool to protect your employees' sensitive emails.
Data preservation and recovery is an extremely important aspect to maintaining high email protection standards. Barracuda Message Archiver captures and stores your data securely for as long as you need without risk of amendment or deletion, and also reduces your email storage requirements while boosting user productivity.