Choosing an Effective Email Security Solution

Introduction

With more than 125 billion emails projected to be sent in 2018 alone, email has become a top threat vector for cybercriminals to target organizations across the world. This means it’s more important than ever that your business data and users are protected from the evolving landscape of modern security threats. Today’s IT professionals need an easy-to-manage and comprehensive email security and compliance solution. According to Symantec’s 2018 Internet Security Threat Report, more than 54% of all email sent in 2018 was spam. Statistics like this make it clear that email security is a necessity for modern organizations—you need to be prepared for a wide variety of threats, without solely relying on the abilities of your IT administrators to deal with each threat individually.

The Purpose of This Guide

We built this buyer’s guide to direct you towards a complete solution to your email security. We know how difficult it can be to understand the ins and outs of protecting your organizations' email—our guide will educate you on the features you should look for when developing a security infrastructure to protect your email and employees from attacks.

Understanding Email Security

Email security is the organized protection of a businesses email infrastructure built around multiple forms of software, hardware, and technology. Properly designed it protects organizations of any size from coordinated email attacks aimed at obtaining data or destroying network availability. While there are numerous threats that target business email, some of the more common ones are:

Ransomware

Ransomware is a specific form of malware which is designed to block access to company data - if undefended ransomware can cripple business workflow. With data being the largest growing commodity for modern organizations, global damage costs related to malware are predicted to reach $11.5 billion annually by the end of 2019.

Spear Phishing & Business Email Compromise

Targeted social engineering attacks like BEC or spear phishing are designed to persuade their targets to send money or sensitive data to cybercriminals disguised as employees or business partners. According to a recent report conducted by TrendMicro, it is estimated that BEC related damages could reach $9 billion dollars in 2018.

Phishing

Phishing is a scalable, cheap attack method, designed with clever social engineering tactics to trick unsuspecting recipients into divulging credentials or provide network access by using concealed malware. During the second quarter of 2017, 67% of the malware hitting organizations was delivered via phishing attacks.

There are multiple ways to ensure the security of enterprise email accounts but, it’s important to understand that it’s no longer simply about blocking spam. With email attacks, cybercriminals can weaponize three areas of the message, the body of the email, attachments, and URLs within the email. Advanced threats like ransomware, crypto-jacking, zero-days, and CEO Fraud are sophisticated, and safeguarding your data and employees against them requires modern techniques.

Choosing the Right Email Security Solution

The most sophisticated email-based attacks are personal ones. Attackers can impersonate legitimate businesses, colleagues and even customers, with the goal of obtaining sensitive data or funds. The sophisticated quality of these attacks requires a modern solution, one that can adapt to incoming threats, and identify potential risks before they infect your system.

Inbound Protection

Since it’s the first step in protecting your organization from email-borne threats, you should look for an email filtering system designed around three principles:

  • Customizable filtering policies, so your IT administrators can define exactly where incoming emails end up.
  • Automatic updates, so you’re not stuck having to constantly monitor and adjust your filters to recognize new threats.
  • Accelerated delivery, so your email server isn’t bogged down by resource intensive filtering. Modern email security gateways should be capable of leveraging cloud processing to speed up email delivery after effectively scanning for inbound threats.

Outbound Protection

Through an effective outbound filtering system, you can protect your network against user systems inadvertently infected by botnet spam. The email files stored in inboxes and archives will almost certainly include latent threats—malicious URLs and attachments waiting to be triggered by an unaware employee in order to launch a network attack.

A strong outbound filtering system should work the same way as your inbound filter, by scanning outgoing messages to ensure that all email leaving your organization is legitimate, virus-free and does not leak private or sensitive information.

Anti-Spam Technology

Corporate email is a gateway for data loss or seizure, network failure, and a loss of employee productivity. Anti-spam technology can assess the quality of incoming emails to help stop suspicious messages in their tracks before they hurt your organization through the loss of critical information or sensitive data. Make sure that your emails are being filtered with a robust anti-spam protection solution, capable of identifying known threat types.

Spear Phishing Prevention

Spear phishing attacks have grown over 20-fold in the past year, incurring more than $5 billion in financial damages, and immeasurable effects on productivity and reputation. While advanced filtering can detect some of these inbound threats, spear phishing and BEC often find their way into employee inboxes.

To ensure true protection against social engineering attacks, you need a protection system capable of identifying threats in real-time, and recognizing how they differ from legitimate email correspondence. While spear phishing attacks are designed to appear authentic to untrained employees and traditional security filtering policies, advances in machine learning enable the use of AI in identifying irregular correspondence.

Post-Delivery Protection

While the focus of email security tends to concentrate on preventing phishing, spear phishing, and malware from reaching end users, a stronger solution should be capable of promising post-delivery protection as there is a high likelihood that something bad will eventually get through even the most robust defenses. That’s why your email security should integrate with backup systems, so you can rapidly recover from endpoints becoming infected from a successful cyber attack or phishing campaign.

Sandboxing

You should make sure you provide some form of sandboxing. Designed to detect latent security threats, sandboxing isolates suspicious attachments, so security administrators or automated systems can determine the potential danger of suspect attachments, without having to worry about possible system infection. This feature is integral to identifying and mitigating hazardous correspondence.

Encryption

Fully integrated, advanced encryption services assist in protecting sensitive information whether it's financial or personal. You should pay close attention to the encryption standards of your email security system. Employee data is only as safe as the level of encryption its protected under—a high end email security solution should offer AES-256 level encryption. It should be easily applied, and automated, so your IT administrators can focus on more important things.

Delivery Guarantee

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.

Versatile Deployment

With modern businesses often utilizing cloud platforms to manage their email servers and overall network, it’s important that your email security can meet your deployment needs. Look for a solution capable of being deployed in the cloud, on premises, or some hybrid of both.

Seamless Integration

Ensuring email security for business users requires seamless integration with correspondence products used worldwide. With over 125 million users, Office 365 is the major platform for business operations. While Microsoft does provide features like inbound filtering and attachment scanning, it lacks more advanced features such as message scanning (for spear phishing protection), immediate email spooling, or sandboxing. You should look for a solution that integrates directly with Microsoft products while increasing the overall security of your email infrastructure.

The Importance of Email Security

It’s important that users and organizations take measures to guarantee the security of their email accounts against known attacks and similarly to make sure that proper infrastructure is in place to stop any unauthorized attempts at accessing accounts or communications.

Today's organizations need a multilayered email security model to protect against sophisticated new and emerging multi-vector threats such as BEC, ransomware, and URL-based attacks. This is why email security solutions should start with proper techniques like encryption, spyware detection, and login security.

Barracuda Products for Email Security

Barracuda offers several products to help you build and maintain a strong email security posture. While each individual product provides immediate protection for its respective threat vector, it is important to remember that complete email protection requires a multi-level security system 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 uses artificial intelligence and deep integration with Office 365 to stop these attacks before they reach your mail server, as well as detecting threats already sitting in your inbox.

Appliance-Based Products

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.