Email is among one of the most commonly used forms of communication for businesses, with the number of worldwide email users expected to grow to 4.3 billion by the end of 2023. Its widespread usage, while incredibly convenient, also makes it a prime target for malicious attacks. Although its prevalence in the business world is nothing new, the risk of a breach of email privacy in 2021 is greater than ever before.
In the face of modern threats and circumstances, it’s important to understand key email privacy risks, how to identify them, and how to avoid them. This guide will outline prevalent email privacy concerns for MSPs, in addition to recommending one of the best email encryption and email monitoring tools on the market to help improve mail security strategy for your customers. To best understand how to emphasize the importance of email security to customers, we’ll begin this guide by discussing the extent of damage that can be caused by poor mail security.
The impact of poor mail security
Email breaches can have a devastating impact on any organization, resulting in damaged reputations and financial loss. Here are some statistics and examples on the potential impact of email breaches:
- 96% of social engineering attacks (such as phishing and pretexting) infiltrate through email
- 73% of cloud breaches in 2019 involved email or web application servers
- The FBI reported there has been a sharp increase in business-related email crime, with a 270% increase in the number of identified victims and exposed loss since January 2016.
While all these figures are unnerving, the last is especially concerning, because it demonstrates business-related email crime is on the rise. But why is this the case?
An increase in email privacy issues
In 2021, and especially in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, remote working is on the rise. Many organizations are now asking employees to attempt to resume business as usual from home. In addition to this, many educational institutions are moving their teaching activities online, providing web-based learning platforms. This increasingly remote and distributed working environment has its benefits, but it does raise important mail security concerns.
Hackers will look for any opportunity to take advantage of any business vulnerabilities they can. The continuous shift toward remote working has made business mail an even more attractive target for hackers, and some opportunistic hackers have even used coronavirus-related scare tactics, social engineering, and the urgency of our circumstances to exploit vulnerabilities. Staying aware of these issues is crucial so you can put measures in place to prevent them from happening. Some key email privacy issues of 2021 are as follows:
POOR MAIL SECURITY ON HOME NETWORKS
With the number of remote workers growing exponentially year-over-year (pandemic or not), an increasing number of users are connected to devices that are not under the management of secure corporate networks. With so many individuals working from home or other remote locations, they’re likely to use a combination of mobile devices, desktops, and laptops to conduct their work. While corporate networks tend to have robust email security solutions implemented for on-premises devices, introducing devices that cannot be as easily managed under the same rigorous security standards inevitably introduces new risks.
LACK OF CORPORATE FIREWALL/UTM
In a similar vein, businesses that operate a remote workforce are at a higher risk of email attack or breach because devices being used to conduct work are no longer behind the corporate firewall/UTM. Without enterprise-grade firewalls protecting your devices, a malicious and sophisticated hacker may well be able to breach your security measures. Remember that enterprise-grade firewalls offer a much greater level of security and protection than the non-corporate firewalls that are often used on personal computers and devices.
HOME ROUTERS AS THE INTERNET GATEWAY
Team members working from home will probably use their home routers as the gateway to the internet. As home routers aren’t equipped with the same level of security features associated with enterprise routers, this exposes your team members to an array of risks, including email privacy issues. A home router internet gateway can potentially make users vulnerable to attack, viruses, and malware.
Expanding on the first mentioned risk, many people who work from home use their own personal equipment to conduct work. This might include personal laptops, desktops, mobile phones, and tablets. The issue with this is personal equipment is unlikely to deliver the same level of security. Remember security is given a high priority when setting up new business devices. If you hope to maintain the same level of security in a home-working environment, it’s crucial that you implement the correct tools to deliver optimal mail security. Another issue with personal equipment being used is that personal devices are often accessible to other family members, potentially exposing confidential information. As an example, if a family member were to take a device outside the home and incidentally expose confidential information to a malicious actor, this could have serious implications for your business.
The more people working from home, the more necessary remote access tools become. Many employees will have to access company files and the corporate network to do their job. Remote access activities make your company especially vulnerable if you do not have access to advanced remote access tools that deliver advanced security features.
MSPs need a mail security tool built for 2021
Facing modern threats, MSPs need to be able to offer their customers a modern tool to match. SolarWinds® Mail Assure is a powerful, cloud-based mail security tool designed to help you and your customers stay in control, providing email filtering and protection for inbound and outbound email. Mail Assure offers sophisticated and user-friendly capabilities that utilize collective threat intelligence, 24/7 email continuity solutions, and long-term email archiving to keep your email security strategy poised to handle whatever comes your way.
Mail Assure makes use of advanced email filtering technology that incorporates email data input from over 23 million mailboxes, all of which feeds into Mail Assure’s Intelligent Protection and Filtering Engine. This utility, combined with real-time pattern threat recognition and machine learning technology, helps protect your customers from emerging email-borne threats with near 100% filtering accuracy. The real-time pattern threat recognition technology leverages a range of filtering approaches, including impersonation protection and anti-phishing. The platform also offers support for DMARC, DKIM, and SPF, taking every possible measure to help prevent spoofing emails and email phishing attempts.
Another benefit of Mail Assure is its seamless integration with Microsoft 365. This allows you to enhance your customer experience by providing all-round protection against email threats. The email continuity solutions provided by Mail Assure also help ensure that if Microsoft 365 has an outage or is down for maintenance, business is still able to proceed as usual. This 24/7 email continuity capability is delivered through a web-based console, allowing you to add value for your customers at no extra cost. Even if the primary server is down, your employees can continue sending, reading, and receiving email.
As businesses continue to adapt to the changing circumstances of 2021, SolarWinds Mail Assure offers a robust MSP solution that will grow and adapt to their needs with ease. Access a 30-day free trial here.