Why email security matters

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Email security takes collective measures to secure the content and access of an email account.

Email is the most effective means of communication in our constantly evolving world of technology. It has become more versatile than any other form of communication and is popular for both personal information and corporate communication.

There is a wide range of benefits that email provides such as…

  • Private and recorded communication
  • Messages delivered within seconds
  • Ability to attach and send documents, images and other forms of media
  • Used to verify a person’s identity
  • Helpful in managing communication
  • Work as legal agreements
  • Important updates and notifications are received in a single place

We rely heavily on email as a trusted channel for communication, but the threat of sensitive data loss is an increasing reality in today’s world.

Ultimately, we live in a world that makes us extremely vulnerable to malicious email attacks.

The below points speak to the importance of why email security is imperative in protecting your personal information, your customer’s information, your business intel, and much more.

1. Email is popular for hackers

For hackers, email is too simple to resist.

What attracts most hackers to email is the quick and easy nature of gaining access. Specifically, when emails are sent un-encrypted, gaining access to sensitive data like account numbers and social security numbers is an easy task.

Hackers send various types of malicious email attacks to trick receivers into revealing sensitive information including:

  • Phishing
  • Malware delivery
  • False pretenses
  • Spam

For example, CSO reports that various malicious email impersonation will be geared towards discrediting the U.S government, media, and business sectors.

In fact, malicious emails are so commonly shared across the internet that SolarWinds MSP Mail claims that almost 70% of email traffic is spam or malicious.

The title=”report” href=”https://www.solarwindsmsp.com/sites/solarwindsmsp/files/resources/SW_MSP_MA_Frightening_Facts_about_Email_Attacks_%20Infographic.pdf?_ga=2.256250824.235266660.1536173803-1941311568.1536173803″ target=”_blank”>report further finds that…

30% of phishing emails get opened compared to the typical open rate of 21.7%

While…

66% of malware is delivered in an email attachment.

Malware, being short for malicious software, is popularly used in the ‘hacker world’ as a weapon of choice. This type of software is designed to compromise computer functions and bypass access codes with the malicious intent to hijack data.

This makes email security critical in blocking out online predators who seek out every day to steal our identities.

2. Malicious emails affect deliverability

An internet connection and a computer are the only tools a hacker needs to wreak havoc by sending malicious emails. Not only can the message content in an email affect your well-being, but it’s key in affecting the deliverability of a message.

A way to detect malicious emails is through filters. Filters are designed to examine specific patterns and content items in an email to recognize a message as spam or malware including:

  • URLs
  • Attachments
  • Headers
  • Message text

Filters aid in separating the good from the bad, but the real problem is distinguishing what’s authentic when malicious mail stream gets mixed with legitimate email.

When a filter decides that a message is spam, legitimate emails like job offers, account notices, and mortgages can wind up caught in filters due to sites with similar filtering data.

This setback in filtering technology has a major impact affecting several ways we interact, such as:

  • Conversational
  • Transactional
  • Marketing
  • 3rd Parties

The frequency and variety of malicious email attacks will continue to rise as technology advances. Be sure to keep your spam filter up to date for effective email security.

3. Society runs on email

Increasingly, email has become the communication king. Its natural appeal of being easy to function communication method at a low-cost makes email an incredible and important tool for most people, trades, and professions.

Not to mention you can communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time.

In daily communications, emails are exchanged for purposes such as:

  • Buying
  • Selling
  • Marketing
  • Reporting
  • Trading
  • Sharing

Most of the email exchange is said to be business related.

For example, Radicati’s 2014-2018 Email Statistics Report states that businesses are considered to be the biggest source of email traffic, accounting for:

  • 7 billion emails per day in the year 2014;
  • Related emails to increase by 139.4 billion daily by 2018.

However, emails are inherently insecure. This leaves businesses and personal information at a high risk of an attack without an email security strategy.

Malicious emails like spam and malware are a frequent problem, more so for business users who receive harmful attachments that can infect computers on their network.

With businesses having such a high dependency on emails as a communication platform, this gives hackers a channel to strike at any organization.

4. Human behavior and error

Most security breaches can be traced back to human error. It’s a major threat to email security.

According to Ponemon Institute research report, human error accounts for 25% of all data breaches within the U.S.

Company employees should be properly trained on the needs of email security and how to identify suspicious looking emails to evade honest mistakes.

However, employee error isn’t the only way for confidential content to be leaked. The real threat arises when a company is susceptible to disgruntled and malicious employees with a vengeance.

The Ponemon report further discovers:

  • Malicious employees’ account for 22% of insider-related incidents.

With the intention to:

  • Ruin a company’s reputation
  • Leak private data for money or other incentives
  • Start a competing business

This type of threat becomes difficult to detect since we typically trust our employees.

The best way to help reduce human error or a rogue employee is to ensure that email security policies are clearly explained and implemented.

Emailing may seem safe and easy for the everyday user, but it should not be underestimated.

Email hackers are a dime a dozen and growing more sophisticated as technology advances. Without the right precautions, messages and vital information are defenseless.

With so much going on in the world of viruses, it’s important to take a closer look at the above points about why email security matters to ensure your protection at all costs.

5. Internet of things (IoT) security

IoT refers to a wide variety of critical and non-critical cyber physical systems, like appliances, sensors, televisions, wifi routers, printers, and security cameras.

According to Bain & Company’s prediction…

  • The combined markets of IoT will grow to about $520 billion in 2021;
  • More than double the $235 billion spent in 2017.

IoT’s data center, analytics, consumer devices, networks, legacy embedded systems and connectors are the core technology of the IoT market.

IoT devices are frequently sent in a vulnerable state and offer little to no security patching. This poses unique security challenges for all users.

A study done by Bain found that

  • security is one of the biggest barriers to great IoT adoption
  • enterprises would buy more IoT devices on average if security concerns were addressed
  • enterprises are optimistic about IoT’s business value and growth

This calls for vendors to invest in learning more about security challenges to suggest and implement more strategic solutions. In the meantime, IoT devices are near impossible to avoid, and finding an IT provider that can manage your security is your best option.

Not convinced? Remember Pied Piper’s pivotal hack in season 5?

Pied Piper easily hacked into a mass distributor of refrigerators’ IoT system and used it to jump their application’s user numbers. If your business provides products that pose a risk, it’s important to implement defense strategies before the products are shipped.

Overall, Cyber security is essential to govern the conducts and manners of interacting with computer systems from suspicious behavior. In a world where even our kitchen appliances and cars are connected to the internet, the opportunities are endless for cyber criminals to cause chaos.

As hackers continue to adapt to progressing technology, so will the IT security experts whose main focus it to keep our data secure.

Take advantage of these 5 types of cyber security methods and protect your business from cyberattacks.

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