Mon, August 21, 2017

Email Security

Security is a pretty hot topic in IT news today. With the latest ransomware attacks like WannaCry and Petya, as well as various data breach attacks security has rightfully become top of mind. When thinking about your business’ IT network, you probably have anti-virus, a firewall, possibly occasional employee training, as a few ways of protecting your company’s information. Email, over time, has evolved and become one of the primary forms of communications in business today. How can you enhance your organization’s email security? Below are 5 areas to consider.

Email Platform

To analyze the best course of action to enhance your email security, first determine which email platform you are currently using. Some organizations use email hosted by their internet provider (Spectrum, Windstream etc.). One of the most common business email platforms is Exchange, whether on-premise or through Office 365. Typically those with on-premise Exchange have an anti-spam product in place – like Symantec Mail Security or a Spam Filter. Office 365 offers this inherent of their Exchange Online subscription. Many of the free platforms or those provided by a carrier do not have any level of anti-malware or anti-virus.

Protecting Against Advanced Threats

As mentioned earlier, ransomware has become the fastest growing malware threat. The United States Justice Department found that there were 4,000 ransomware attacks per day in 2016. Most of these threats are through a phishing email, where a compromised link or attachment is emailed to the user to then take control over their data. Over even just the last few months, these “hackers” are getting more and more sophisticated especially as there is a monetary gain for them if the individual ends up paying the ransom.

One of the ways to protect against these threats is by adding another layer of security to your email platform. For example, Centrality offers a subscription product from Barracuda that includes Advanced Threat Detection (ATD) along with other multi-layered email security features. Advanced Threat Detection, a vital security layer that scans email attachments in most commonly used file formats and compares them against a cryptographic hash database. ATD isolates and detonates files of unknown status in a sandbox environment within the Barracuda Cloud to observe their behavior. Emails found to contain malicious content are quarantined. If no malicious content is found, the content is then passed down to the user.

Backup

A common mistake that many business owners make is that by moving to Office 365, you no longer need to back up your email since it is in the cloud.  Yes, Office 365 is architected on Microsoft’s geo-redundant platform with an SLA of 99.9% uptime to ensure continuous service availability. However, backing up this data is still a best business practice since the measures taken to prevent permanent data loss are limited.

The number 1 cause of data loss in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment such as Microsoft Office 365 is accidental deletion.* In fact, about 70 percent of all lost data is due to either accidental or malicious deletion of data by end-users. With Barracuda Essentials for Office 365, you can eliminate the risk of items lost due to accidental deletion. You can also retain emails and files indefinitely in case employees leave the organization unexpectedly, all without having to purchase additional licenses. Moreover, you can delete inactive user accounts to free up Office 365 user licenses quickly and easily.

Meeting Compliance

Data security is critical, especially if you are subject to industry or federal regulations. Centrality takes this seriously, and we strive to meet the highest standards for data security and regulatory compliance. We leverage leading technology to ensure data is stored securely and reliably, and that you can quickly retrieve data when you need it.

HIPAA – Requires the protection of confidentiality and security of healthcare information

How we comply:

  • Military-grade data encryption in transit and at rest
  • Redundant secure data centers
  • Password protected access to backups

FERPA – Requires the protection of confidentiality and security of educational records

How we comply:

  • Military-grade data encryption in transit and at rest
  • Redundant secure data centers
  • Password protected access to backups

FINRA – Dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation of the securities industry

How we comply:

  • Features such as built-in access controls and audit logs
  • FINRA-compliant data infrastructure

PCI- Payment Card Industry Data Security standard for protecting credit cardholder data

How we comply:

  • Software does not store full track or magnetic stripe data
  • Encrypt data in transit and at rest
  • Access controls to prevent unauthorized access to data

 

*Aberdeen Group, “SaaS Data Loss: The Problem You Didn’t Know You Had,”