Email has become such an integral part of our routine that most times we use it mindlessly. We close deals through email, check our favorite store's latest promotions, pay that invoice that our boss has forwarded us and send files to clients and colleagues. And that's great! Email makes our lives a lot easier!
But have you ever wondered what may happen once your unencrypted email goes through public networks? Do you usually double check to see if that email that look just like your boss's is really from him or her? Most people don't. We simply trust the system.
Knowing that, cybercriminals have turned email into every company's greatest vulnerability. If your business doesn't invest in extra email protection besides its server's basic antispam capabilities, it may be time to rethink that.
Here are four reasons why your business should invest in email security:
1. Email is the main threat vector used by cybercriminals
Cybercriminals looooove emails! From massive spam campaigns to elaborate data theft frauds, emails are their favorite way of gaining access to your company's network, money and data. That's due partially to the widespread adoption of email -- in 2017, about 269 billion emails were sent and received per day, a number that is expected to grow in the next four years. You can see how that can be an attractive market for a hacker.
And there is also the human behavior factor. Email is really simple to use, but most employees are not trained to recognize emails containing fraudulent links or phishing attacks. Hackers know that and exploit that flaw. Many times malicious emails are sent disguised as routine, non suspicious emails, such as a delivery notification or an invoice payment notice.
With little or no employee training and weak email protection systems, many companies, from small businesses to enterprises, fall victim to a wide variety of scams, from virus that are relatively easy to deal with to ransomwares and data theft. Improving your email protection and employee training will prevent you from becoming a victim too.
2. Complex attacks, such as ransomwares, are becoming more common
Not long ago spam and virus were the main concern when it came to email security. As user awareness and basic anti-spam capabilities improved, so did the variety and complexity of the attacks. Now we have zero-day malwares, ransomwares and sophisticated scams such as BEC (Business Email Compromise), where criminals impersonate a company's CEO or director to get employees to share sensitive information or make bank transfers.
Most server's native anti-spam capabilities are quite efficient for simple virus scanning and for detecting massive spam campaigns, but they lack features to prevent these increasingly common complex attacks. That's when a Secure Email Gateway comes in hand, because it employs advanced tools, such as sandboxing, and various layers of security. A complete email solution will protect your company against complex attacks.
3. Email security can help you avoid significant financial losses
The FBI estimates that one type of email scam, called BEC (Business Email Compromise), has already made companies loose U$3 billion in the past three years. That's a major loss caused by only one of the various types of email frauds. If we were to add up to those numbers the loss caused by ransomwares spread through email, such as Wannacry, the statistics would be even more astonishing.
Contrary to what some may believe, those attacks are not aimed only at enterprises. Medium and small businesses are also targeted in such scams, sometimes with simpler, yet effective, scams. It could be an invoice payment request from what looks like a trustworthy company or a promotion that requires you to fill out a form providing banking or credit card information. Those losses can and should be avoided with the adoption of email security policies, employee training and the deployment of specific email security solutions.
4. Prevent data breaches
The rise in complex attacks using ransomwares and BEC shows us that attackers are after not only money, but also data and sensitive information. Every single day, hackers aim at companies, governments and organizations worldwide trying to get information, from data that could influence an election to data that could be sold, such as addresses and phone numbers from a health clinic patients' list.
We already talked about how specific solutions such as Secure Email Gateways could help your company prevent those attacks, thus limiting the chances of data loss. But many solutions also offer features that include specific Encryption and DLP (Data Loss Prevention) tools, which gives you control and visibility over the data and the information being shared and leaving your company. This way, you make sure that financial report doesn't leave your network unless you allow it to.