Small businesses often underestimate cybersecurity risks. There is a widely held notion that cyber criminals only focus on the big fish, such as large companies with deep pockets. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that small businesses are actually great targets for cyber criminals precisely because of the complacency of company leadership and lack of adequate cybersecurity investment. While large enterprises often invest in sophisticated defenses and staff large cybersecurity teams, small businesses do mostly the opposite.
One area frequently overlooked is email security. The easiest way to attack and exploit companies is through email. This is where every type of attack usually starts, including malware, ransomware, phishing, and spear phishing attacks.
In this blog, we will explore small business email security and why these companies need to invest in enterprise-grade email security solutions.
Six Reasons Why Small Business Email Security is Important
1. Spam is Still a Big Problem
Cybersecurity vendors have been helping companies block spam for over two decades. In any given workday, it is now rare to receive a Viagra solicitation or an email from a Nigerian prince.
But just because we don’t see this spam, doesn’t mean it’s not being sent. Fortunately, nearly all companies have some form of anti-spam defense in place and most spam is kept at bay.
Not all business email security solutions are created equally. Too often, legitimate email gets flagged as spam. This is called a false positive. At other times, commercial solicitations from strategic vendors or business partners may be desired and need to be whitelisted.
The reality is, correctly mitigating spam while ensuring the delivery of desired email is both an art and a science for email security for small businesses. The most sophisticated business email security solutions today now have refined user interfaces, making it easy for users to quickly surface desired email from the spam quarantine and pop it back in the inbox.
Users also need fine-grained control of their sender whitelist, so desired email regularly gets delivered. Today, the name of the game is not just spam catching effectiveness, but also ease of use and control.
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2. Email Threats are Real
All kinds of cyber attacks begin with email. Companies and their employees are inundated with emails containing malware attachments or web links to malware downloads or phishing attacks.
Cyber criminals leverage email to launch ransomware attacks, take over and control employee machines, or steal employee credentials through phishing tactics that target email addresses.
Phishing emails can be broad-based, exploiting employee trust in brand names, such as large software providers such as Microsoft or Salesforce, or common brand names of popular online services, social media sites, or financial institutions.
Cyber criminals can get even more targeted, leveraging spear phishing attacks which are directed at specific users, such as payroll administrators or company executives.
Enterprise-grade email security for small businesses implement sandboxing analysis technology to detect and block malware, viruses, and phishing attacks.
The best of these solutions leverage the power of the cloud for secure email for small businesses. This strategy rapidly filters messages in real time, keeping the bad stuff out and the good mail flowing.
3. Comprehensive Inbound and Outbound Protection
Comprehensive email protection involves both inbound and outbound filtering. Business email protection is more than just keeping the bad stuff out. Organizations have vast amounts of customer and patient information, trade secrets, intellectual property, and other sensitive information.
Malicious insiders or negligent employees can just as easily use email to leak vital company or customer information.
Organizations need email security solutions that filter and control outbound email and defend against the inadvertent or deliberate leak of personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI), or other sensitive information.
4. Policy-Enforced Email Encryption
While filtering and blocking certain outbound email is desirable, there are many legitimate email use cases when a sender actually needs to send PII or PHI via email. These emails should be encrypted. There are numerous laws and regulations, which mandate email encryption when sending PII or PHI.
Historically, encrypted email services were difficult to use for the sender and recipient alike. Today, enterprise-grade encrypted email for small businesses include sophisticated capabilities for encrypted emails which automate many of the traditionally cumbersome steps.
For instance, administrators can implement policy-enforced email encryption that automatically detects the presence of PII or PHI in a draft email and automatically encrypts the outbound email.
This relieves users of the burden of deciding which emails should be encrypted or not. What’s more, the best solutions also make decryption and receipt by the recipient easy as well.
5. Email Continuity
Email is very much the lifeblood of company communications. As a result, downtime is not really an option. Despite that, email servers and major cloud operators such as Microsoft and Google continue to face periodic email outages, some of which have lasted for several hours.
Continuity solutions for email accounts are another core element for enterprise-grade business email security solutions.
Email continuity solutions act as a backup email server, when there is an outage or network connection problem interrupting normal email services.
In these scenarios, incoming email is spooled to the backup server and can be accessed on an emergency basis, allowing for basic send and receive functionality even if the primary email server is down.
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6. Building a Culture of Security
Modern email security solutions also incorporate security awareness training as a core element. Employees with good habits and cybersecurity awareness are an important line of defense in the fight against cyber crime.
The way to build a culture of security is with practice, repetition, and micro-learning, delivered at a regular cadence. In the best solutions, phishing simulations regularly test employees on their ability to spot malicious emails and scams.
Then, extra threat protection training and programming is dynamically assigned to those staff who need the most follow-up training and education.
Improve Small Business Email Security With a Proven Partner
At NENS, enterprise-grade email security for small businesses forms a key element of our core cybersecurity platform. We have vast experience with the impact unsecured email communications can have on a business.
We know how to raise the bar on email security, from outside filtration to internal employee training, to protect your company from email-borne attacks. With proper email security deployed, cyber criminals will move on to the next, easier small business target.
For more information about how to improve email security for small businesses, contact NENS today to schedule a consultation.