The Different Types of Email Security Services

Email is one of the most common and established platforms for corporate communications. Companies use emails to communicate internally, with partners, and with their customers. However, email can also be a source of security risks and threats. Email security solutions manage the risk that malicious emails pose to an organization.

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Why is Email Security Important?

Phishing emails are some of the most damaging cybersecurity threats that companies face. Most cyberattacks start with a malicious email, which can carry malware embedded in an attachment or contain links pointing to malicious sites. These emails are commonly used to deliver malware, steal user credentials, and access other sensitive information.

Email security solutions are a vital component of a corporate cybersecurity strategy. By blocking phishing emails and other email-borne threats, they reduce an organization’s exposure to malware, account takeover, and data breaches.

Companies can manage the email security threat in a few different ways. The two most common approaches are deploying a Secure Email Gateway (SEG) and using an API-based email security solution.

Secure Email Gateways

SEGs are intended to identify and block email-borne threats en route to or from an organization’s email server. They are deployed in line with the email server or mail transfer agent (MTA) by modifying DNS MX records to point to the SEG rather than the server or MTA. By routing all email traffic through the SEG, emails can be inspected and filtered for malicious traffic before being routed on to the organization.

SEGs used to be the gold standard for email security, but have become less effective as corporate IT infrastructure has evolved. SEGs offer perimeter-focused protection — leaving them blind to malicious internal emails — and often require organizations to disable the built-in protections offered by their email provider, allowing threats that may otherwise have been blocked to slip through. Additionally, SEGs are largely only effective at blocking threats known at the time of inspection, making it complex to handle novel phishing emails that are only detected after they have been passed on to a user’s inbox.

API-Based Protection

An alternative to the SEG is an email security solution that leverages the APIs exposed by email services such as Microsoft 365 or G Suite. These APIs allow email security to integrate directly with the email solution, providing protection without rerouting traffic or disabling built-in protections.

An API-based solution can provide the same security capabilities as an SEG but also benefits from visibility into internal email traffic and the ability to address threats that are detected after they have reached the user’s inbox. This allows an API-based solution to provide more effective and comprehensive security than an SEG.

Key Features of Email Security Services

Email is one of the greatest sources of cyber risk to an organization, and an email security solution is a vital component of a corporate security strategy. Some key features of email security services include:

  • Anti-Phishing Protection: Phishing is a leading cyber threat and can result in malware infections and the loss of credentials and other sensitive data. Email security services should be able to identify and block emails with malicious links and attachments before they reach the intended recipient.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP): Email is a common medium for information to both enter and leave an organization. Email security solutions should incorporate DLP functionality to identify and respond to the attempted transmission of intellectual property (IP) and other sensitive data to unauthorized parties.
  • Malware Blocking: Phishing emails are a common means of distributing malware to target systems within an organization. Email security solutions should analyze attachments in a sandboxed environment to identify malware attached to an email.
  • Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR): Bad actors often embed malicious code in Microsoft Office and PDF documents. An email security solution with CDR support can deconstruct a file, excise malicious code from it, and rebuild the sanitized file for transmission to the receiving party.
  • Account Takeover Prevention: Email accounts contain sensitive information and often control access to other corporate accounts. Email security solutions should help to protect against account takeover attacks by cyber threat actors attempting to exploit weak or compromised user credentials.

Email Security with Check Point

Companies need email security solutions to protect themselves against advanced phishing threats. While SEGs worked in the past, they provide inadequate protection against modern phishing threats. An API-based solution enables an organization to block zero-day and evolving phishing attacks and supports defense-in-depth for corporate email accounts.

Check Point — along with Avanan — has developed an email security solution that provides comprehensive protection against the modern phishing threat. Learn more about Check Point Harmony Email and Office and how it can help your organization to manage the threat of email-borne attacks by signing up for a free demo.

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