Why email security is your next big opportunity

computer keyboard with red key

News headlines frequently tout the proliferation of email-based spam and malware. In 2014, two-thirds of all email traffic was spam. For mid-sized businesses, spam and viruses have traditionally been a nuisance and productivity hindrance, so deploying antispam and antivirus solutions that could block most of this traffic was considered good enough.

More recently, however, the threat landscape has changed. Criminal organisations have evolved from targeting a select number of large businesses to targeting a huge number of businesses of all sizes. Mid-sized businesses are particularly attractive since they tend to have fewer defences than their larger counterparts.

The potential damage from such emails also now goes beyond impaired productivity. Unwanted email can now cause more serious problems, including data breaches, financial loss, compromised customer information and brand damage.

There are some valuable opportunities in email security for MSPs who are looking to help clients solve issues around operational efficiency and business continuity. Although many email gateway security solutions will include anti-spam and antivirus engines, truly reducing email risk requires a number of features that address the full spectrum of threats posed by inbound and outbound email.

There are a number of key features to consider when evaluating gateway solutions that will reduce risk to clients.

Configurability: Ease of use is important, but it should not come at the expense of configurability. The email security gateway solution should have enough configuration options that they can be customised to specific business requirements.

Filtering for email exploits: Email exploit engines attempt to detect unknown malware by analysing suspect code and determining whether or not it has the characteristics of malware. This is a critical capability for email security solutions because it defends against malware exploiting vulnerabilities that have not yet been publicly revealed or patched.

Anti-phishing engine: These reveal the true domain names of spoofed websites promoted in phishing emails. This decreases the likelihood of the user falling prey to a phishing attack.

Reducing the risk to clients of financial losses and brand damage is more than just a neat idea'. It also enables MSPs to ensure that their clients can focus on their core business drivers. A secure email gateway is the first step towards securing a client's business needs, and a great way to demonstrate return on investment.

Picture: Bigstock

Esther Kezia Thorpe

Esther is a freelance media analyst, podcaster, and one-third of Media Voices. She has previously worked as a content marketing lead for Dennis Publishing and the Media Briefing. She writes frequently on topics such as subscriptions and tech developments for industry sites such as Digital Content Next and What’s New in Publishing. She is co-founder of the Publisher Podcast Awards and Publisher Podcast Summit; the first conference and awards dedicated to celebrating and elevating publisher podcasts.