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Cloud-based email security tools barricade entry to Exchange

The pressure is on Exchange administrators to avoid a ransomware outbreak that cripples the on-premises email system. Cloud-based security tools can help blunt trending attacks.

When it comes to cyberattacks to Exchange Server, security is serious business.

Organizations of all sizes have similar fears about ransomware and other malicious attacks that disrupt the business and, in some cases, damage the company's reputation. Cloud-based email security services can offer enhanced protections for the on-premises Exchange Server.

A considerable number of successful breaches occur when an email with a malicious link or attachment slips by the security system, and the recipient clicks and executes malicious code.

But regardless of the outcome, a data breach is imminent when a machine is infected through email and depending on the sophistication of the attack may even spread across other workloads on the network and cause even more damage. To counter these threats, more groups will increase their security investments. Gartner predicts information security spending will reach $98 billion this year, a 13% increase over its $86.4 billion estimate for 2017.

Attackers hit organizations with an incredible amount of phishing emails, using many different tactics to get the users to trust the email. Once the recipient opens the attachment or clicks the link, the malware does one of several things: hijacks the computer's data to mine it for identity information, encrypts the files holding them hostage, spies on user activity to steal data or uses the machine to hack into other network devices.

There are numerous email security services that detect and block malicious code that slip by signature-based antivirus tools. This advanced layer of security can help filter threats sent via email, but what do Exchange administrators need to consider with these cloud-based tools?

Cloud-based email security tools require little implementation effort

Most clients might prefer to stay with Microsoft and use the company's Exchange Online Protection service as an add-on for advanced security and protections to their existing Exchange system. But there are many third-party products from vendors such as Mimecast and Proofpoint worth considering for email protection. One benefit to these services to Exchange administrators is that the deployment of most of these services requires very little change to the on-premises Exchange system.  

Email security services adapt to trending threats

One of the advantages that cloud security tools have over other traditional on-premises offerings is the intelligence and data mining.

One of the advantages that cloud security tools have over other traditional on-premises offerings is the intelligence and data mining. Cloud security providers have access to a significant amount of email and security data as they process and filter client email. This information helps the vendor analyze and detect abnormal behaviors. This added insight helps them pinpoint and block risky or suspicious email, websites or attachments based on advanced algorithms and detected patterns. When it's time to decide on a cloud tool, administrators should consider an offering that uses machine learning to detect abnormal email activities.

Cloud-based email security tools deliver deeper insights

Modern cloud security tools also show Exchange administrators not only where the threats originate but the targeted users. The threat management component in cloud-based email security services is a desirable feature that lets security and Exchange administrators investigate malware attacks more thoroughly. This feature helps IT proactively uncover and better protect specific users and the entire organization as a result. 

Email security services boost protection features


Build a better password for your
email account and other pointers.

Attackers use many different methods to deceive end users and bypass traditional security measures. In response to these new threats, several security vendors introduced a number of additional capabilities to add more security layers and block malicious email. 

Some of the features from email cloud security platforms include connection filtering; anti-malware protection; content filtering; detonation capabilities; website or URL protection and filtering; backscatter lists and block lists.

Education also plays an important role

After implementing these cloud-based email security tools, Exchange administrators need to supplement these protections with education for the end user. Many security experts advise IT to teach the organization's employees how to recognize malicious emails that make unusual or unexpected requests.

This was last published in April 2018

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