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Email Security Definition
Email security involves the strategic set of measures and techniques used to protect email-based communications, effectively preserving the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of email messages. As a critical safeguard for all types of organisations and professionals, email security prevents unauthorised access resulting in data breaches, detects and blocks malicious content, and ensures the privacy of sensitive information being transmitted.
As the most commonly leveraged communication channel among cyber attackers and criminals, email is often exploited to spread malware and viruses, steal sensitive data, deploy ransomware and phishing attacks, and manipulate users into divulging confidential information. Email security solutions are designed to protect against the ever-evolving spectrum of email-borne attack vectors.
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Email security is not just about protecting your inbox; it’s about securing your organisation from potential threats that could lead to significant data breaches or financial loss.
Why Is Email Security Important?
Email security is a crucial component to protecting both business and personal assets from threats. Email is widely known as the number-one threat vector for cyber attacks, and cybercriminals are constantly tweaking their tactics and techniques to exploit email vulnerabilities.
According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations Report, 94% of malware was delivered via email. And based on findings in a Cisco Report, 96% of all phishing attacks originate from email.
Effective email security involves more than just using technologies to help detect threats and safeguard data and digital assets. It’s also about training personnel about email security awareness and understanding the sophisticated nature of today’s threats. Terranova’s Phishing Benchmark Global Report indicated that 67.5% of individuals who click on a phishing link would likely submit their credentials on the associated phishing website.
Implementing email security measures helps protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands and ensures your organisation remains compliant with data protection regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. A secure email system can also prevent costly downtime caused by malicious emails compromising your network infrastructure.
In the ever-evolving digital landscape where email communication remains fundamental to day-to-day operations, it’s difficult to overstate the importance of a robust email security strategy to keep your business running smoothly while safeguarding against potential threats.
Understanding these types of attacks empowers you to recognise and avoid them, keeping your email domains and data safe. IT teams, cybersecurity professionals, and business leaders must stay vigilant and ahead of the curve with dynamic email threats at play.
It’s critical to be cautious when receiving emails from unknown senders or emails that seem suspicious. Avoid clicking links or downloading attachments from these emails, and delete them immediately. Educating yourself and your employees on how to identify malicious email messages is one of the most important things you can do to enforce effective email and data security protocols.
How Secure Is Email?
Email was originally designed to be as open and accessible as possible. It allows people in organisations to communicate with each other and with people in other organisations. The problem is that the security of email, on its own, is not reliable. Given its open format and the heightened sophistication of attacks, email is inherently not secure, requiring organisations to implement email security solutions, policies, and best practices to protect against email-derived attacks.
Attackers use email as a means to intercept sensitive communications, steal confidential information, and compromise systems – largely in an attempt to profit from targeted victims. Whether through spam campaigns, malware, phishing attacks, sophisticated targeted attacks, or business email compromise (BEC), attackers can take advantage of the lack of email security measures to carry out their desired actions.
Over the years, organisations have been increasing their level of email security, making it harder for attackers to access sensitive or confidential information. Yet, social engineering tactics and other human-centric attacks have upped the ante for more stringent and secure email systems.
The email security policies should be tailored to support an organisation’s need to protect sensitive data while making it readily available to users, affiliates, and business partners. They’re especially important for organisations required to follow compliance regulations, like GDPR, HIPAA, or SOX, or abide by security standards like PCI-DSS.
Organisations can check many of these boxes by working with leading cybersecurity partners like Proofpoint and leveraging their comprehensive email security and protection solutions.
Proofpoint is designed to help businesses identify and block threats using advanced machine learning technology and multilayered detection techniques. These are just some of the email security tools and features that Proofpoint delivers. Learn more about what makes Proofpoint a #1 ranked Email Security and Protection solution.