Email is the number one communication method in business today. There are 306.4 billion emails sent each day, with business emails taking up 124 billion of those. While email is great for communication purposes, it comes with its own set of security risks.  The fact that 91% of cyber attacks start with an email is a sobering fact and should put you on guard with every email your organization receives. The best way to combat this is to protect the primary form of communication between a potential scammer and the company they hope to scam. A Secure Email Gateway can accomplish this for you.

What is a Secure Email Gateway?

A secure email gateway, or SEG, is essentially a firewall for your email. While looking through both inbound and outbound emails, it searches for anything questionable that could lead to a breach. When it finds a questionable email, it immediately puts the email into quarantine for review and blocks the sender. The intended target receives nothing unless the email is reviewed and released by an administrator.

Secure Email Gateways utilize four different security features, which include Virus and Malware Blocking, Spam Filtering, Content Filtering, and Admin Controls. With this combination, the SEG can help to prevent questionable items in an email from circulating within your organization.

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Virus and Malware Blocking

This security feature looks for anything in your emails that could contain or link to viruses or malware. If it detects anything that could be potentially dangerous to your computer, it immediately puts the email into quarantine. The SEG will also help prevent end-users from receiving phishing emails. Using algorithms, it can look through emails for valid domain names as well as spoofs, or fake domains meant to mimic a legitimate web address.

Spam Filtering

With spam filtering, the software looks through incoming emails for common patterns, such as forged “from” headers and specific keywords common in spam. If the header is not forged but is a known spam domain, the program automatically quarantines it. The same happens if the program detects malicious links. If multiple emails that are considered spam have come from the same user, the SEG will immediately blacklist that email. End users can streamline this process by reporting and blocking the email themselves. The spam filtering security feature is the core feature of all SEGs.

Content Filtering

This feature is for outbound emails, specifically those to external addresses. It follows the same protocols as the spam filtering software. It looks at the emails going out and searches for sensitive information, specific images, and keywords. If it finds any of those, the program immediately quarantines the email. Admins can control what the SEG should look for in outbound emails.

Admin Controls

To make the program as personalized as possible, SEGs give admins the ability to manage security for the whole email network. Thanks to a centralized admin dashboard, admins can determine what they want in or out of the network. Admins also have the option to manage mailboxes for employees to increase storage potential. This gives the admins more control over the entirety of their email security landscape.

With email being the primary source of communication within and between companies, it also seems to be the medium most targeted by scammers. Typical spam filters can only do so much. If and when a malicious email gets through, you put both your company and employees at risk. By having an SEG, you can personalize the program to your company and establish a defensive perimeter to help prevent a data breach.