Email will consistently find itself as a top threat vector since it’s a staple in the workplace that everyone uses, which is why securing your email is crucial. The attack surface presented by email is massive and it has become the primary target of phishing attacks which have the capacity to spread malware. Email security, which includes the techniques and technologies used to protect accounts and communications, has become more and more critical in the modern workplace. The fact that email contains sensitive information coupled with the growing popularity of cloud-based email makes a tempting attack surface for bad actors.
Emails travel between networks and servers and do not go directly to the recipient. Before landing in an inbox, an email may pass through vulnerable and unsecured locations, which always comes with a risk regardless of if your computer itself is secure from an attacker. Hackers are smart and can easily deceive you by impersonating a sender or manipulating email content by accessing the metadata. With that being said, email security is crucial and should not be an afterthought of your organization’s cyber security plan.
When creating a game plan for securing your email interface look no further than advanced threat protection (ATP). This security solution specializes in defending sensitive data against complex malware or hacking-based attacks. ATP solutions can be found in the form of software or managed services and there will be slight differences in approaches and components. However, ATP solutions commonly involve a combination of network devices, email gateways, endpoint agents, malware protection systems and a centralized management console to correlate alerts and manage defenses.
The goals of ATP are to detect threats before there is an opportunity for information to be compromised, provide adequate protection so threats can be tended to rapidly, and to respond in a way that avoids damage. Achieving these goals is done in three main ways. First, real-time visibility is utilized to detect threats before it’s too late. Second, ATP threat alerts will provide context, which allows security teams to organize a response and prioritize threats.
Third, data awareness gives a deep understanding of enterprise data, its sensitivity, value and other various factors, which will help create an effective response. Additionally, a strong ATP solution will address halting current attacks or mitigating threats before data is compromised, disrupting criminal activity in progress or countering actions that have resulted from a breach and interrupting the lifecycle of an attack to impede progress.
Sophisticated attacks that traditional security solutions, such as antivirus, firewalls and IPS/IDS, can’t fend off are often able to be prevented, detected and responded to by ATP solutions. This benefit, along with the proactive nature of ATP solutions that eliminates threats before data is compromised, is what makes it a great option for many organizations. Also, a global community of security experts who will monitor, track and share information about potential threats can be accessed with ATP services.
ATP solutions can be relied upon to notify organizations of any attacks that have occurred, the severity of the attack, and what has been done to stop the threat or at least minimize data loss. Regardless if the solution is managed in-house or as-a-service, ATP solutions will secure your critical data and systems no matter where the attack stems from or the potential severity of it.
Whether or not you deploy an ATP solution, or something similar, it will always be important to implement an email protection plan that follows best practices to secure email traffic in real time. Email has become a popular tool for spreading ransomware and malware and a single threat can impact multiple endpoints and compromise sensitive data. Spam filters should be put in place to detect spam and stop it from ever hitting your inbox.
Email encryption is another great tool which disguises corporate emails so if they are intercepted, they cannot be read. Antivirus protection will screen emails and attachments for viruses and offer an alert if something suspicious is detected. Secure email gateways and multi-factor authentication should also be utilized to prevent a breach. However, above all, your employees need to be educated to recognize these threats as they are the most vulnerable link in any organization.