Organisations’ email networks are vulnerable to cyber-attacks; whether from traditional spam emails – in which users may be inclined to download Malware-ridden attachments – to Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), which can block email access by bombarding the servers with messages. All organisations, no matter how small, should implement an email security strategy to minimise the risk of attacks and breaches. Below, Albie Attias, managing director of hardware reseller King of Servers, details his top tips for implementing a successful email security strategy.
One of the first things an organisation should look for from any type of security software is how it integrates with their systems. The software should not be a standalone solution, but rather feed into an overarching cyber security strategy. For this reason, antivirus software needs to be able to integrate easily with other software and deployment needs to be efficient.
It should also be straightforward for your IT department to configure; a good rule of thumb is to look out for those which offer lots of different customisable options.
Self-service spam quarantine
In many organisations, IT resources are incredibly limited, and in smaller businesses there may only be one person manning the IT department. You could save these employees a lot of time (consequently freeing up resource for more important issues) by running a self-service spam quarantine so the IT department doesn’t have to vet emails manually. For instance, email filtering gateways are useful for capturing obvious spam, however, there is still a small number of emails that could be spam, but aren’t obviously so. Self-service spam quarantine works by flagging these emails as questionable; ultimately allowing the recipient to make the final decision rather than filtering them out entirely.
In addition to investing in security systems, organisations should educate their staff on common scams to be aware of. No anti-virus software or phishing filter will be 100 per cent perfect; there will always be the odd rogue email that makes its way through, and if a user clicks the phishing link or downloads the attachment, the whole network could be in jeopardy. Make sure staff members are familiar with the latest scams to minimise the risk of such attacks.
Disaster recovery protocol
It is important to accept that, even with the most robust systems in place, security breaches are sometimes unavoidable. For this reason, organisations should have a disaster recovery protocol in place. It goes without saying that everything important should be backed up on a regular basis – would you be lost without those emails? If so, you need to assume the worst and make sure copies are available in the event of the originals being compromised.
For larger organisations, disaster recovery for IT security in general may even stretch beyond the technical remit. Organisations have a moral obligation to inform customers that their details have been compromised as some will use similar usernames and passwords for other websites.
Conduct regular security audits
Auditing is key to identifying areas of vulnerability when it comes to IT security, and while some organisations do conduct regular audits, a large percentage does not. In 2015, a Spiceworks survey revealed 62 per cent of IT professionals said their organisation does not carry out regular audits.
Security audits can be time consuming to conduct, but the benefits are huge. They enable the IT department to highlight vulnerabilities and potential backdoors, which streamlines future expenditure. As part of the IT security series King of Servers is running on its blog, we wrote a guide to conducting a security audit, which is worth referring to in preparation.
Email security is integral to organisations reducing the risk of data breaches. Not only does it protect the organisation and its users, it can also protect consumers, clients and subscribers against receiving harmful emails under your company’s name.
Albie Attias is managing director for IT hardware reseller, King of Servers, an organisation which has thousands of products in-stock and ready to ship, at unbeatable prices. Albie is also a highly experienced e-commerce manager with a track record of conceiving and implementing cost effective eCommerce solutions.