Email is one of the most used forms of communication. There are around 4 billion email users worldwide, and the number of emails sent and received per day is estimated to increase to about 376 billion in 2025 (from about 306 billion in 2020). With over 4.5 billion users expected to use email in 2025, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that emails have fundamentally transformed how digital communication is carried out, whether for business, marketing, or some other purpose. However, it is also the same channel that is responsible for a majority of phishing attempts globally. Email security and phishing protection are major focal points for IT Security services and global tech giants alike.
The reports of the past five years show that around 80% of all cyber-attacks are impersonating social engineering attacks. Today, most email attacks are malware-less to avoid setting off malware scanning alarms. The primary aim of adversaries is to gain the target’s trust by impersonating some legit entity or user. As the emails do not contain any malicious content, they can easily bypass the email security defenses.
The situation has even worsened globally during pandemic times as most of the phishing attacks are coronavirus-themed. Malicious actors take advantage of the employees working from home with less secure connections and endpoint devices.
In the simplest of words, a misdirected email is an email sent to the wrong address. The 2020 Outbound Email Security Report published by Egress says that 79% of organizations have listed misdirected emails as one of the topmost email security risks. Although it is a common issue that might seem harmless initially, there are various risks that a misdirected email can pose to the organization. From data breaches to loss of reputation, a simple mistake can go a long way to ruin an organization’s brand value.
Today, the healthcare industry faces one of the most daunting tasks of protecting human life in an insecure cyber environment. Healthcare organizations worldwide deal with massive amounts of medical records and other PHI (Public Health Information) and PII (Personally Identifiable Information). Such data is communicated internally and with other parties such as hospitals, medical centers, administrations, and insurance providers.
An average of 306 billion emails get exchanged every day globally. Email is the primary medium for official, professional, academic, or any other form of formal communication and is accepted across the globe for its ease of access and use. However, emails are also the gateway to a majority of the cyberattacks taking place today. It all starts with an apparently legitimate email that, in reality, spies, steals information, downloads malware, hacks, or does other malicious activities on devices and associated systems.
Emails continue to remain the primary method of business communication in the digital era and have not lost their relevance decades after their inception. Today, they serve several other crucial purposes, marketing being one of them. Businesses (especially online ones) extensively use email marketing to keep in touch with their existing users and customers, target a new customer segment, etc. According to a recent survey, almost 65% of small businesses prefer email marketing over direct social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter. Hence, it is clear that businesses cannot afford to ignore email marketing in today’s times. However, to ensure success through this marketing channel, it is crucial to evaluate and review the efficacy of your email marketing strategy and process, and this is where an email audit can be of significant help.
With the advancements in technology, the sophistication of malicious actors has also improved by leaps and bounds. Organizations must counter such a circumstance by creating firewalls to maintain robust email security. These attacks are becoming more rampant and frequent. It is here that Artificial Intelligence has a significant role to play. With both Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) becoming more intelligent by the day, it is time that they are leveraged to their full potential against such attacks.
Email Security & Marketing Mistakes To Avoid For Small Businesses While Setting Up Email For Their Brand
Email security is undoubtedly a priority for small businesses. However, while focusing on the email marketing strategy, they might overlook the basics. For 87% of B2B marketers, email serves as the prime channel of distribution. At the same time, organizations lost more than $1.8 billion due to ’Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks in 2020. It highlights the importance of setting up the email strategy and policy in the right way. Email marketing can become a powerful tool to attract new clients and engage the existing ones with the right approach. However, businesses must avoid some general mistakes while setting up professional email for their brand and using the same for marketing purposes, as discussed below.
Incidents of malware infection have been so regular that they are no more news to organizations worldwide. A single system infection is still within the control of the IT Security teams, but when it occurs at a significant scale, it can prove spine-breaking for the organization. Hence, there need to be contingency plans to counter it even before it comes to such a stage. Organizations must prepare a robust malware incident response plan and keep it ready for immediate implementation.
Today, we are in the digital age, where advanced technology makes everything easier. The advantage digitalization offers to organizations is especially remarkable. Organizations like banks that had to deal with millions of people and billions of transactions daily can now manage a large proportion of their customers online. As a result, online banking is gaining in popularity, thanks in part to the convenience it accords the customers.
The digital age has witnessed emails emerge as one of the most original and popular methods for online correspondence. Regardless of the size of an enterprise, email security continues to be a concern. In 2017, the number of email users across the globe was around 3.7 billion. This figure is likely to rise to 4.3 billion by 2022. Besides, malicious actors have close to 300 billion emails dispatched around cyberspace to target each day. Without a robust line of defense, an organization would always be in the shadow of an attack from adversaries. Phishing attempts, ransomware attacks, malicious attachments, and links continue to exploit the vulnerabilities.
With the rampaging virus and a restriction on movement, most staff have started to work from home. While this change has led to a successful fight against the virus, it has given IT Security teams a lot to work on. A widespread workforce and spread-out security protocols have led to systems and networks becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats like spear-phishing, BEC, etc. Moreover, most enterprises moving to the cloud created an open field for both the victim and the perpetrator.
A tremendous evolution can be seen in the internet threat landscape in recent years. Cyber-attacks have become more sophisticated to easily infiltrate an email infrastructure and cripple any organization’s business operations in seconds. The latest Gartner report points out that attacks relating to business email compromise (BEC) will double in number every year (to over $5 billion) by 2023, resulting in substantial financial losses to organizations.
Emails are the primary means of commercial, professional, academic, diplomatic, and other official correspondence. An office employee receives around 200 emails daily, and not all of these emails come from harmless or relevant senders. Ninety percent of the email exchanged globally accounts for spam email. Spam email and its associated cyber risks are known to all – it is the root cause of malware, Trojan, and virus spread through email. Data breaches, compromise of confidential intelligence, and financial fraud are initiated by spam and phishing emails commonly appearing as an ’email security alert.’
In this digital age, communication and payment transactions are performed online. And email remains the number one communication channel due to its flexibility, reliability, and ease of use. As such, it is the preferred channel by malicious actors to attack an organization. The current pandemic has contributed much to the use of emails. As a result, cybercrime has evolved with innovative and sophisticated techniques to carry out Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks, which necessitates robust email security for any organization.
Email security threats are increasing day by the day as more organizations use the online route for business and communications. Avoiding email security threats is of paramount importance and forms an integral part of every cybersecurity strategy employed by organizations worldwide.
No standard business in today’s world operates without an email server. Most business communication takes place through emails. It also means that a lot of sensitive, personally identifiable information (PII) remains in such organizations’ mailboxes. But a single cyberattack or security vulnerability can invite trouble not just in the form of business disruption but also as a risk of identity theft, extortion, or financial loss for all stakeholders, including employees, partners, and the most crucial part of any business – the customers.
The sophistication of phishing and hacking has improved with advancements in technology. Under such circumstances, online business owners must adhere to cybersecurity compliance without fail. An online business is at a more significant risk than an offline one as online malicious attacks can disrupt its activities anytime. It will require all sorts of protection, such as email security, phishing protection, ransomware protection, and anti-phishing services to protect the organization. The below information on data breaches in 2020 is something to ponder about
With the hike in the number of data leaks, phishing and spear-phishing attacks, and other security breaches, most users wonder how they can prevent their personal and sensitive information from getting into the hands of adversaries. Organizations have started to pay attention to phishing protection, ransomware protection, and other cybersecurity measures to secure their information assets. However, one aspect that no enterprise should sideline when it comes to email security is the concept of email encryption.
Walking in the shoes of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) brings the colossal responsibility of securing the clients’ interests. With online adversaries escalating in the digital age, email security continues to be a priority for organizations. Given that 88% of global organizations encountered spear-phishing attempts in 2019, the adversaries look even more menacing a couple of years later. For a CIO, the Information Technology policies largely revolve around managing persistent threats coming through emails. In 2021, emails continue to be one of the favorite channels for malicious actors to inflict damage. Therefore, right from choosing the email hosting provider to incorporating the security protocols, one needs to be on the front foot.