Email Security Is Your Best Front-Line Defense

by | Jul 6, 2023

Email is at the center of any company, as it’s a bridge for messages between staff, customers, business partners, and prospects alike. While there are a lot of other collaboration tools, with over 4.3 billion email users worldwide, it continues to be a global standard. Since it has such widespread usage, it is a common target for cyberattacks like phishing and malware, leaving those without email security especially vulnerable.

Why Cybercriminals Target Email Accounts

Email accounts are commonly hit because they give hackers access to data or devices that hackers can’t reach otherwise. It requires the target to open the email and either share sensitive information the attacker wants or download an infected file onto their device. With phishing emails being open 70% of the time when they reach a person’s inbox, it’s proven to be an effective strategy.

Notably, this tactic bypasses other forms of cybersecurity. Even if a business’s infrastructure is otherwise secure, it can’t prevent people from freely giving out information or login credentials outside of that safety net. That’s why email security is a vital part of protecting users, as there are fewer options to prevent an attack once a person receives the message.

The Role of Email Security in Defending Users

In 2022, 82% of data breaches were caused by a human element. That includes stolen credentials, phishing, misuse, and user error. While no system is perfect, there would be fewer successful cyberattacks if people never opened malicious emails. That means one of the best defenses is to prevent those emails from reaching inboxes in the first place, which highlights the role of email security.

It prevents many types of email-based attacks from ever being seen. If something does sneak its way through the email security filters, there are security solutions that can detect what kind of information is being sent out. If the system notices someone is giving login details or payment information to an external email address, it can block the attempt and notify the IT team.

Types of Email Security Solutions

Email security solutions come in various forms, each designed to address specific vulnerabilities and threats associated with email communication. Here are several types of email security solutions that you might consider:

Spam Filters

These are the most basic form of email security, and a free version is included with most email services. They automatically sort incoming emails, helping to block or quarantine unsolicited bulk messages and potential phishing attempts. Business-level spam filters can provide much greater protection through advanced filtering and monitoring with support from an IT team.

Anti-malware/Antivirus Solutions 

These systems scan email attachments and embedded links for malicious software, including viruses, ransomware, and spyware. If detected, these threats are isolated and removed. While effective, clever attackers can even infect HTML documents. These solutions also don’t stop people from following links to download files from an infected website.

Email Encryption

Encryption converts emails into a format that can only be read with a key. Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (S/MIME) and Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) are standard forms of email encryption. That means attackers that may intercept an email between point A and point B won’t be able to view its contents because they won’t have the decoding key.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Software

This software prevents sensitive information from leaving the organization via email. It scans outgoing messages for specific data types (e.g., credit card numbers, social security numbers), and if it detects any, it blocks the email or notifies administrators. That acts as a failsafe to ensure staff can only send sensitive business information and files to internal email accounts within a company.

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)

Much like email security being multi-layered, cyberattacks can also have multiple layers, making them difficult to detect and react to. ATP solutions go beyond traditional spam and malware filters. They use sophisticated techniques to detect and block advanced threats like zero-day exploits and targeted attacks.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Although not a solution specifically for emails, 2FA greatly enhances email security. It requires users to provide two forms of identification before accessing their email accounts, such as a password and a unique code sent to their phone. That means even if account login details are stolen, attackers won’t be able to access the account.


DMARC standards for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. This allows the domain owner to specify how to handle emails that fail to meet specified authentication measures (SPF and DKIM), helping to prevent email spoofing. That is a vital part of the process, as spoofed emails may bypass some filters and appear more legitimate.

Email Security Gateways

These solutions are installed between the organization’s mail infrastructure and the internet, scanning inbound and outbound email traffic for threats. Other solutions are often combined with gateways, making it easy to isolate emails to ensure that nothing malicious comes through and users aren’t sending valuable data outwardly.

Each email security solution can only provide partial protection. However, combining several of these solutions to make a layered approach can offer a strong defense against any email-related threats.

Cybersecurity Awareness Provides One Extra Layer of Defense

In 2022, 82% of data breaches were caused by a human element. That includes stolen credentials, phishing, misuse, and user error. While the prior mentioned email security solutions can go a long way to help, they can’t entirely solve a human making a mistake. That means educating employees about email threats, with cybersecurity awareness training, creates one additional layer to decrease the chance of a successful attack.

ITonDemand: Strengthening Your Business Email Security

Email security is critical to any successful business, and ITonDemand is fully committed to protecting from cyberattacks. With 92% of organizations falling victim to a phishing attack, we know it’s a source of ongoing stress for many. Our multifaceted approach features robust spam protection, intensive security awareness training, and effective endpoint antivirus solutions.

Our partnership with leading solution providers, like SpamTitan, allows us to extend industry-leading solutions to our clients, shielding them from harmful spam and malicious emails. Remember, with ITonDemand, your business’s email security is not just an afterthought but a priority. We strive to provide seamless, efficient, and reliable services, keeping your business safe and giving you peace of mind.

Get IT Support