Secure Your Emails with Encrypted Email Service

Email encryptionIf you’re the owner of a small to mid-sized business, you may be thinking that encrypted email is out of your reach. For those of you who’ve heard the term but don’t quite understand it, encrypted email is a methodology to scramble business communications so that only the intended recipients can read it.

But the Internet is the great equalizer when it comes to technology services, and encryption is no exception to this rule. Today, you can work with firms to help you secure your email, which is crucial not only for your peace of mind but also for compliance in a lot of industries. 

Review of Encryption Services

If you have an on-site email server, the increasingly heavy regulatory environment in fields like accounting and healthcare require encryption for compliance with local, state, and federal rules. This makes it increasingly difficult for some businesses to be able to afford email encryption.

In the old days, both the sender and receiver of email encryption had to share the same service to access messages. Today, that is no longer the case. However, how we use email has gotten more complicated, with messages flying between mobile and desktop devices on a variety of cloud-hosted and on-premise servers.

Fortunately, there are a number of software providers on the market that are fairly low cost and offer an alternative to some of the bigger players in the market:

Symantec has a product called PGP Desktop Email which is a little unwieldy, but workable. Installing the software allows users to receive files via an encrypted attachment. The software then sends the users the “key” to unlock it. The problem here, of course, is that the code must still be sent between users who may reside outside your firewall.

Hushmail is decent encryption software that works well for any digital device. Hushmail focuses on several industry sectors, including the law, healthcare, and nonprofits. In addition to encryption, it uses two-step authorization; touch ID, and aliases to secure your data. Hushmail syncs well between your webmail and their iPhone app. On the flip side, sometimes you get what you pay for, and Hushmail is fairly basic and therefore, not bulletproof.

AppRiver CipherPost Pro offers both web-based email and an encryption service. It offers a plug in for Outlook if you don’t want to change your existing provider, and it offers a number of security-based mobile apps for any phone. There’s a nice admin portal that lets you add or revoke users. The drawback here is it’s complicated to install and there is a 5GB attachment limit on encrypted messages.

Mimecast Secure Messaging is the most sophisticated encryption solution on this list and the best option for small to medium-sized companies. This is a cloud-based solution that not only makes it easy to send encrypted emails, but also offers a wealth of email management tools for administrators.

Managed Service Providers and Encrypted Email Service

Managed IT providers are a great resource for those seeking encrypted email service. CWPS offers technology support for all of your cloud-based or on-premise data storage, email security, and compliance needs. We offer full-service solutions for a variety of industries and help you find the lowest cost, yet most secure options for email encryption.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

The Pitfalls of an On-site Secure Mail Server

Onsite secure email serverTo get right to the point: most businesses don’t need an on-site mail server. Setting up an on-site server can be an expensive and time-consuming and there are so many great virtual alternatives, that a secure mail server in the cloud makes sense for most businesses.

Let’s look more closely at some of the pitfalls that can arise if you elect to set up, utilize and maintain an on-site secure mail server. 

It Takes a lot to Secure a Mail Server

”Email functions in a poisoned and hostile environment, flooded
by viruses and spam. The seemingly simple exchange of text-based
messages operates under complex rules with complex tools, all
necessary to keep the poison out and the system functioning
and useful in spite of the abuse it’s constantly under.”
How to Run Your Own Email Server with Your Own Domain
Lee Hutchinson

Email is the primary infection vector for many if not most cyber threats. Phishing emails, malware infected emails, and other threats have become incredibly common, which means that you need an email infrastructure that is up-to-date and utilizes the latest solutions in order to keep your data safe. If you can’t commit to this, then it’s better to avoid an in-house email server.

Setting Up an Onsite Email Server Isn’t Easy

The set up and maintenance of an on-site secure mail server can be a complicated affair. Some of the components you’ll be configuring include:

Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) is software designed to handle SMTP or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. To put it simply, MTA software allows your server to send and receive mail.

Mail Deliver Agent (MDA) software takes mail as it comes in and sorts it into the correct email inbox.

IMAP or/and a POP 3 Server includes programming protocols that allow multiple people to connect to email simultaneously. It also helps route emails appropriately between servers and users.

AntiVirus protection is a necessity these days; cyber security is serious business.

Spam Filters work to keep your email free of junk mail that could include dangerous phishing emails that contain malicious software. Spam filters can be set to different levels and can be added to both incoming and outgoing mail.

Webmail is software that allows you to access email via a web browser.

Unfortunately for you, these are just the highpoints of the software that is needed for an in-house secure mail server. You also need a domain name, DNS records, and an SSL certificate.

Email Server.jpg

Email Servers Need to be Maintained

If you don’t keep up with server maintenance, your chances for being hacked go up exponentially. Updating your systems, including antivirus and spam, will be high on your list of priorities. You’ll also need to monitor to make sure your server isn’t placed on a spam block list, which happens if your DNS is configured wrong or if it’s determined that you’re a serious spammer. 

Then there’s the troubleshooting that comes with maintaining an on-site email server. What happens if emails stop sending? Where do you even start to troubleshoot such a complex situation?

Of course, there are some situations in which it may make sense to have an in-house email server. If you need to have additional control over your emails for compliance reasons, for example, then you may need to go with an on-premise solution. Companies that constantly face litigation also benefit from an on-premise solution, since they need to pull large numbers of emails from the system on a regular basis. For most organizations, however, a cloud-based approach to email like Microsoft Office 365 will be a better fit.

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The 3 Main Types of Email Security Threats

email security threats

Email remains one of the top threats to an organization's cybersecurity. Through email a wide variety of malicious programs, exploits, and social engineering tactics can be disseminated. Decision makers must be aware of the major threats related to email security and the best way to avoid vulnerabilities and risk.

Here are three of the most common types of attacks that your organization needs to be on the lookout for:

1. Baiting

Baiting is designed to lure a user in by promising something different than what is delivered. A useful computer tool may turn out to be a malicious program; the goal is to encourage the user to click a download link or to open an attachment. Baiting is one of the oldest forms of malicious email program and social engineering, as it hides a potentially malicious program as something that the user would be naturally interested in. Not only do users need to be taught not to accept or run these files, but a comprehensive email security system will be necessary to catch anything that is accidentally opened.

2. Pretexting

Pretexting is a social engineering tactic that's used to get privileged information such as login and authentication data. A malicious user may contact an employee and state that they need specific information to complete a task. For instance, the user may claim to be with their ISP and need some information to complete troubleshooting their account. Users need to be aware of their hierarchy and to consult with IT regarding any informational requests. They also need to avoid ever giving out their login information, as it can be incredibly dangerous regardless.

3. Phishing

Phishing techniques involve extremely legitimate looking emails, such as emails from a local bank or organization. An email may appear to be from Google or another trustworthy company and will often request that the user click on a link in order to log in and update their information. Phishing techniques will sometimes bank on a sense of urgency; they may come from a bank and say an account has been compromised or overdrawn. Either way once the user logs into the fake but legitimate looking site, their information will be compromised. In recent years, spear fishing has emerged as a threat. Spear fishing is targeted towards a specific individual, often a high-level individual within a corporate structure. This allows the phisher to tailor their fishing attempts and make them seem even more real.

Email security can only be developed through a consistent combination of personnel training and technology. Of the two, technology is the most effective email security solution. Employees will always be forgetful and make mistakes; they are only human. Though training can help reduce risks, technology will counter even the issues that slip through.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

Why You Should Consider an Email Security Service in 2016

email security serviceWith 1.7 billion current email exploits bouncing across the Internet, it's not surprising that email security remains at the forefront of cyber security and privacy concerns. Email exploits are constantly being directed to an organization's employees, and it only takes one recent exploit -- and a careless employee -- to compromise the organization's infrastructure. Email is the most used medium of communication today, and its ability to transfer external files into a protected network makes it incredibly dangerous. To combat this, many organizations are switching to an email security service rather than attempting to maintain security in-house.

Email Hazards: Phishing, Spear-Phishing, and Malware Attachments

There are many ways that malicious attackers can target an organization through the use of email. Phishing techniques are often used to gather information from an employee, through the use of authentic looking emails -- such as banking messages, or corporate missives. Spear-phishing is similar, but done with in-depth knowledge of the organization and its hierarchy, often targeting a specific individual. Malware attachments can wreak havoc on an internal network simply by being opened.

Compounding these issues, employees transmit an incredible amount of privileged information through their email accounts -- and they often log into these email accounts from personal or even public devices. In one poll, it was discovered that over half of all employees had sent unencrypted corporate data through their email account and 21% had sent sensitive data without encryption. A network does not need to be breached for this to pose a security threat. All an employee needs to do is leave their email account open on a public computer and all of that data would be compromised.

Protecting Your Organization through an Email Security Service

An email security surface takes the burden off of the organization by outsourcing security to a provider. Email gateways utilize advanced, often cloud-powered, technologies in order to identify the newest and latest threats before they ever get to an employee's inbox. Through heuristic analysis, new threats and even sophisticated phishing techniques can be both identified and quarantined. This leads to an overall much safer environment, as employees are never given the option of falling prey to these threats.

Email security services also offer better support -- through their 24/7 technical teams -- and better system performance, as everything is handled off-site. Administrators can easily access information to identify any threats targeting the system, and can manage email security through an all-in-one consolidated dashboard. Essentially, an email security service creates an all-in-one portal through which threats can be identified and managed.

Email cybersecurity requires a solid IT infrastructure. Employees make mistakes -- and many of them may not understand the risks inherent to email attachments and phishing attempts. Organizations may want to invest in an email security service and a hosted email service so that they can take the burden off of their in-house IT. Keeping current on new and emerging threats is absolutely essential for those trying to secure their email solutions.

Guide to Keeping company's data safe

Image Source: Joe The Goat Farmer