6 Things to Look For When Choosing Reliable Email Security Services


Like most organizations, you use email as the main communication channel.

While email is an excellent form of communication, it’s also one of the most targeted channels by hackers via phishing scams, malware attacks, and other security risks and threats.

Using reliable email security services is your best bet to help protect your business-critical communications and data.

Find the email security service provider that can best address your unique needs.

Look into the essential features and functionalities your email security service should have, starting with the following:

1. Protection from inbound threats

Inbound threat protection is one of the non-negotiable features your email security solution should offer.

The service provider should offer broad protection from common threats, such as:

  • Known viruses
  • Malicious attachments
  • Suspicious URLs
  • Phishing and impersonation
  • Hybrid threats, such as URL attachments that lead to files with malware

While there are foolproof signs of phishing scams and impersonations, sophisticated attacks, such as hybrid threats can often slip through the cracks.

That is why investing in an email security solution that can strengthen your protection is crucial to reduce these potential threats.

For instance, some email security solutions can detect impersonations by conducting header, envelope, text, and display analyses on your emails.

Opt for an email security service provider that offers impersonation and domain spoofing detection.

2. Inbound email hygiene

Email hygiene is typically considered a commodity capability for basic email security solutions.

However, choosing a service provider that does email hygiene poorly can lead to user frustration, productivity loss, and wasted time in your Security Operations Center (SOC)

Avoid overlooking email hygiene because some email security service providers do.

Choose a solution that offers inbound email hygiene with fundamental controls, including:

  • Volume and connection rate controls
  • Recipient validation
  • Definitions to detect bulk and adult messages and spam based on the message contents and sender details
  • File type controls

The provider’s email hygiene should also tie together with end-user services.

It can empower users within your organization to allow, block, and report messages, strengthening your overall email security.

Email hygiene might not be top of the list in your daily email security program evaluation, but its absence (or poor implementation) can weaken your email protection.

3. Outbound email hygiene

Outbound hygiene includes known spam and threat detection, outbound message assessment, and pushed messaging characteristics (intended recipients and disclaimers) management features.

It might be considered a basic function, but without it, security risks and threats can easily slip through and potentially compromise your communications and data.

Opt for an email security solution with outbound controls that can help you uncover account compromises and other suspicious user behaviors.

Your service provider should be able to detect and notify you about users who suddenly start sending massive volumes of bulk messages and outbound emails.

It can indicate a data compromise, allowing you and your security team to act promptly.

4. Threat detection and response features

Some of the best ways to fortify your email security are to implement ongoing efforts, including the following:

  • Develop spam definitions
  • Use honeypots and sensors on the internet
  • Join reliable threat intel-sharing groups and communities online
  • Identify and adjust to new threat tactics
  • Analyze phishing and malware attack attempts

However, no email security provider can 100% guarantee that they can keep malicious and unwanted messages from landing in your inbox. 

So what can you do?

Select email security solutions that can offer recursive analyses of emails delivered to your inbox.

Consider choosing an email security service that uses threat intel updates given regularly by the provider.

It should also let you integrate credible threat information from other sources, such as open source threat intelligence and digital risk providers.  

Ensure the provider’s recursive analysis process includes triggering notifications when delivered emails are detected as malicious or weaponized. It must also have the ability to allow manual or automatic actions.

Email security platforms with automated features to purge delivered messages from your inbox should also facilitate easy and manual search-and-destroy functionalities.

It’s a valuable feature in your organization’s threat detection program.

The automated features should also include threat detection capabilities to spot potential risks in URL, spam, impersonation, attachment, user-submitted, and hybrid threats in messages.  

5. Internal threat protection via email analysis

Internal threats can be as fatal as external ones, whether done mistakenly or maliciously.

Common internal threats can be:

  • Users within your organization who make mistakes and fall for phishing attempts
  • Impostors who gained access to your communications and data via dishonest methods
  • Malicious insiders or employees who use and abuse their current privileges and access to cause harm or loss to your organization 

With all these potential insider threats, it only makes sense to include internal threat protection in your email security strategy.

Opt for an email security platform with robust internal threat protection. It can help strengthen your defenses against the impact of internal data breaches.

Insider threats can be the most damaging since quickly recognizing the cause can be challenging, allowing them to go undetected for a long time.

Find a security solution that can analyze your internal email communications for threats, spam, and unwanted and inappropriate content.

Ideally, choose a provider that offers internal email threat protection through API since it’s a faster and less costly approach. Plus, it can give an analysis in seconds.

APIs can also require less complex configurations and management than Blind Carbon Copy (BCC) and journaling.

Other similar approaches can take several minutes to analyze, adding a layer of risk if the emails are sent externally for the analysis. 

6. End user services

People (and the human element) can be your organization’s largest threat vector for your emails.

However, your employees can also be your biggest allies in making your email data and communications safer and more secure.

The key is to train and empower users with the necessary tools to align with your organization’s security policies and goals.

Give users a mechanism to manage their safe and blocked sender lists and report suspicious messages.

Also, provide them with a way to review and release safe, non-malicious emails that are blocked from delivery and marked as spam.

Consider choosing an email security provider with an email digest and web portal that show users the messages and allow them to manage safe and blocked lists.

Other providers even offer a mobile app to access these services quickly and easily with smartphones.   

Find the right email security solution for you

Not every email security service provides the same features.

Find the best-fitting solution for your email security needs by understanding the essential features your organization requires and learning from the tips in this guide.

Consider other important factors such as pricing, implementation requirements and timeline, and whether you can integrate the email security service into your existing systems.

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