Fortify Your Inbox: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Layered Email Security Fortress

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Email continues to be one of the most frequently used communication tools for businesses. It’s used for both internal communication and external communication with clients, customers, vendors, and partners. Cybercriminals are looking for ways to use email as a weapon in cyberattacks, though, as its use becomes more  prevalent. This has made it imperative for businesses to develop a layered email security strategy to protect against email-based threats.

According to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report of 2022, email is the primary vector for cyberattacks. With phishing attacks being the most common type of attack. The report found that 82% of data breaches involved phishing attacks. Similarly, the FBI reported that business email compromise (BEC) scams accounted for over $26 billion in losses in 2019. This highlights the need for businesses to take email security seriously and develop a layered email security strategy to protect against email-based threats.

Furthermore, Security Magazine mentioned that there had been a 667 percent increase in coronavirus related spear-phishing attacks by March 2020, as per the Barracuda Sentinel report. This demonstrates how sophisticated and constantly changing attack techniques are used by cybercriminals.  With these statistics in mind, businesses cannot afford to overlook email security.

What is a Layered Email Security strategy?

A multifaceted approach that makes use of various security safeguards to protect email communication is known as a “layered email security strategy.” A layered strategy is used to make sure that email-based attacks are prevented from occurring or are at least mitigated in case one security layer is breached.  

The first layer of email security is usually supplied by the email service provider. Most email service providers have built-in security measures such as spam filters, antivirus scanning, and malware detection. Nevertheless, relying solely on the email service provider’s security measures is insufficient because cybercriminals are constantly coming up with new ways to get around these security measures.

The second layer of email security typically offers gateway security solutions. These solutions filter emails before they reach the user’s inbox and can be set up to block emails that contain spam, malware, or other malicious content. By examining email content and spotting irregularities, gateway security solutions also offer defence against phishing and other social engineering attacks.

The third layer of email security is provided by endpoint security solutions, which are designed to safeguard private devices such as desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. Endpoint security solutions typically include antivirus software, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems. These solutions safeguard against threats such as malware and others that might have got past earlier email security layers.

To strengthen these three layers of security even more, businesses can add additional security measures. These could entail implementing two-factor authentication, regularly educating staff about security issues, and restricting access to sensitive information.

The aim of a layered email security approach is to ensure that even if one layer of security fails, there are other layers in place to prevent or mitigate the damage caused by email-based attacks. Businesses can drastically lower their risk of succumbing to email-based threats like phishing, BEC scams, and malware attacks by implementing a layered email security strategy.

Why is a Layered Email Security Strategy Important?

Cybercriminals are getting smarter every day, and they use sophisticated tactics to target businesses through email. In fact, according to a report by the FBI, Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, also known as Email Account Compromise (EAC), have resulted in over $26 billion in losses since 2019.

The staggering statistics show the need for businesses to have a layered email security strategy in place. A single security measure, such as an antivirus or spam filter, is not enough to protect against all types of email-based threats. Instead, a comprehensive approach that uses multiple security measures is required.

Elements of a Layered Email Security Strategy

A layered email security strategy involves using multiple security measures to protect email communication. These security measures work together to create an all-encompassing email security strategy that reduces the likelihood of attacks using email.

Employee Education:

Employee education is a critical component of a layered email security strategy. Employees need to be educated on how to recognize and respond to email-based threats, such as phishing emails, BEC, and ransomware. Regular training sessions can help employees stay informed and up-to-date with the latest email security trends and best practices. Employee education is a crucial component of a multi-layered email security plan since informed employees are the initial line of defence against email-based assaults.

Spam Filters:

Spam filters are designed to block emails from known malicious sources. These filters scan incoming emails and identify potential spam emails, which are then flagged or blocked. While spam filters are not foolproof, they significantly reduce the number of malicious emails that make it to the inbox. Spam filters should be regularly updated and configured to meet the unique needs of each business.

Antivirus software programs:

Antivirus software are designed to scan email attachments and links to detect and remove malicious content. These software programs should be installed on all devices used to access email. The software ought to be kept up-to-date to ensure that it can spot the latest threats. Antivirus and anti-malware software are essential elements of a layered email security strategy.

Two-Factor Authentication:

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide an additional piece of information, such as a unique code, in addition to their password to access their email. This makes it harder for cybercriminals to gain access to email accounts, even if they have obtained the user’s password. Two-factor authentication should be mandatory for all email accounts.

Email Encryption:

Email encryption is another critical element of a layered email security strategy. It guarantees that confidential information, like financial data, proprietary information, and private details, is not compromised by cybercriminals. Encrypting the email message both in transit and at rest is how email encryption operates. Encrypted emails can only be perused by the intended receiver, making email encryption an integral element of a layered email security strategy.

Incident Response Plan:

An incident response plan is a set of procedures that outlines how to respond to an email-based attack. The plan should include instructions on what to do in the event of a breach, including notifying the IT department, locking down the infected equipment, and possibly contacting law enforcement. An incident response plan serves as a vital factor in a layered email security strategy, as it guarantees that businesses are ready to respond to an email-based attack in a rapid and efficient way.

How EmailAuth’s DMARC can revolutionize your Email Security strategy

Email security is a critical concern for any business that relies on email communication. Cybercriminals are always developing new tactics to launch sophisticated email-based attacks that can compromise a company’s sensitive data and result in severe financial and reputational damage. One of the most effective tools in an email security strategy is DMARC, which stands for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance. It offers a comprehensive email authentication solution that can help businesses safeguard their email communications.

DMARC works by allowing businesses to set policies that define how incoming email messages are handled based on the domain from which they originate. This enables businesses to validate the legitimacy of emails and prevent the delivery of phishing emails to their intended targets.  DMARC offers several benefits that make it an essential tool for any business that wants to protect against email-based threats.

  • Firstly, DMARC can help businesses  prevent email phishing attacks. Phishing attacks involve online criminals impersonating a trustworthy business or organization in an effort to pressure victims into divulging sensitive information, like login credentials or financial information. By identifying and blocking spoof email messages that seem to be sent from authentic domains, DMARC gives businesses the ability to stop these attacks.
  • Secondly, DMARC can help businesses protect their brand reputation. Spoof emails that appear to come from a business can be damaging to its reputation, especially if these emails contain malicious content. DMARC enables companies to keep an eye on how their domain is being used and take action to stop any unauthorized use, safeguarding the reputation of their brand in the process.
  • Thirdly, DMARC can help businesses improve email deliverability. The effectiveness of email campaigns can be drastically decreased when emails are labelled as spam or blocked by email providers.  DMARC enables businesses to improve email deliverability by ensuring that legitimate emails are delivered to the intended recipients.
  • Fourthly, DMARC can help businesses improve their overall email security posture. A complete email authentication solution is provided by DMARC when combined with additional email security measures like SPF and DKIM.  By implementing DMARC, businesses can ensure that their email communications are secure and that they are protected against email-based threats.

Any firm that relies on email communication must be extremely concerned about email security. Businesses may protect their email conversations with the use of DMARC, which provides a complete email authentication solution. DMARC has the potential to revolutionize a company’s email security strategy by preventing phishing attacks, protecting brand reputation, enhancing overall email security, and enhancing email delivery. Any business that wants to safeguard its confidential data and protect itself from email-based risks should invest in DMARC implementation. For more information, visit emailauth.io

Using numerous security measures to defend against email-based attacks is part of a layered email security approach. A layered email security strategy includes employee training, spam filters, antivirus and anti-malware software, two-factor authentication, email encryption, and an incident response plan.  Businesses may greatly lower the danger of email-based attacks by putting these security measures in place and protecting their critical data.

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