Securing Email Communications

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As email security threats continue to evolve and become more sophisticated, your employees’ inboxes also become more vulnerable. According to Gartner, email is the most commonly used channel for cyber-attacks as well as a significant point of egress for sensitive content. And with the average cost of a data breach now at almost $4 million, securing your email communications with the right solution has never been more important.

You need robust protection from a wide range of email-based threats – malware, ransomware, phishing, business email compromise (BEC), spam, and data loss. You also need to balance security with the need to continuously collaborate. Any delays to email communications can be costly and frustrating.

Clearswift’s Email Security Solutions offer a unique and effective layer of real-time, signature-less inspection to detect and sanitize evasive threats, delivering highly secure email without delays. Whether deployed on-premise on in the cloud, working alone or alongside cloud-based email applications such as Office 365, Clearswift’s Secure Email Gateway keeps your organization’s email well protected.

Email Security Best Practices

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To help IT teams define a robust email security policy and determine what’s required from a Secure Email Gateway, follow our simple six-step guide:

  1. Determine what data needs protection – Compliance regulations dictate that sensitive data such as Personal Identifiable Information (PII), payment card details or patient medical data is safeguarded from unauthorized disclosure. A solution that can detect and remove unauthorized sensitive data from incoming and outgoing emails, and automatically encrypt any authorized data, will protect employees and the organization if sensitive data is incorrectly sent or received.
  2. Identify cyber threats – The right email security solution needs to prevent malware, spyware, ransomware, BEC (phishing) emails, unwanted data acquisition and unnecessary file types from reaching inboxes.
  3. Establish a robust and sustainable email security policy – An email security solution that’s easy to deploy, monitor, and manage will help support and enforce a policy in a way that doesn’t over burden the IT department, email administrators or messaging teams. Features such as the ability to handle all threats from a single interface and have employees manage their own quarantine list will help increase the efficiency of the solution and ultimately free up time for IT teams to spend on other projects.
  4. Close the zero-hour window – Anti-malware solutions are great for defending against known dangers. But what happens if a brand-new virus tries to enter a network before security loopholes have been identified? Email security solutions that can filter and analyze the content of messages and attachments and sanitize these evasive threats will help close this vulnerability.
  5. Encrypt sensitive data – To aid compliance, email security solutions need a range of easy-to-use policy-based encryption options including TLS, PKI technologies such as S/MIME or PGP, Web-portal or password protected messages.
  6. Monitor traffic behavior and performance – Visibility of emails and comprehensive reporting is important when determining and enforcing policy. Email security solutions that provide detailed audit trails help IT teams investigate potential breaches. Those that export data to SIEM systems allow organizations to get a 360-degree view of the data flowing in and out of the organization.

6 Steps to Email Security

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To help IT Teams define a robust email security policy and determine what’s required from an email security solution, we’ve put together a simple six-step guide to email security best practices.

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Benefits of Email Security

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Benefits of Email Security

What’s Different About Clearswift’s Email Security Solutions?

As well as a strong set of hygiene features to protect against cyber-attacks and manage annoying spam, the Clearswift solutions offer organizations an unprecedented level of flexibility and granularity in policy deployment and control. The three main differentiators are:

Unparalleled Content Filtering and Inspection
True Zero-Hour Anti-Malware Protection
Automatic Sensitive Data Removal

Protect Against Advanced Email Threats

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Superior anti-malware protection is provided through Avira, Kaspersky or Sophos anti-virus software engines that update signatures every fifteen minutes. Heuristics and behavioural analysis enhance detection capability even if no signature is present, preventing any known or unknown malware from entering or leaving the network.

For maximum defense against embedded Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), these technologies are supplemented with the real-time sanitization of any active content within email messages or attachments, including the detection and removal of scripts, macros and objects from common Office 365 files and PDFs. Protection against attachment-based advanced threats is recommended in the Gartner Market Guide for Email Security.

Ransomware is often released by unsuspecting employees who click on a malicious URL within a phishing email. To neutralize this threat, the Secure Email Gateway uses a real-time URL look-up tool to rewrite or sanitize confirmed or suspicious URLs.

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Prevent Spam From Reaching Employees' Inboxes

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Clearswift’s multi-layered spam defenses leverage IP reputations, greylisting, signatures, message authentication, real-time block lists, and machine learning engines to provide more than 99.9% spam detection rates. These layers drastically reduce the amount of time employees spend managing their inboxes. Anti-spoof functionality is aided with SPF, DKIM and DMARC and an Outlook Spam Reporter makes spam easy to monitor, register and eliminate.

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Data Loss Prevention Through Email

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The threat of data loss through email is a major compliance concern for organizations. Recent statistics show that 24% of all data breaches are the result of human error, while 34% involved internal actors. Secure Email Gateways can protect against accidental or malicious data leaks by automatically inspecting outgoing email messages and attachments for any sensitive data.

Clearswift’s Email Security solutions use powerful lexical analysis and regular expression rules to search for key words and phrases and when found, the sensitive data can be automatically removed or managed by a system administrator or line manager. To mitigate the risk of data loss through images and scanned documents, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows the solution to redact sensitive data from images and scanned documents. It also inspects incoming emails and attachments to ensure the threat of any unwanted data acquisition is removed.

As part of the content inspection process, the Clearswift Secure Email Gateway recognizes data classification labels and ensures the correct security treatment is applied, this includes checking the recipients are authorized to receive the data and encrypting it before it sends.

For additional protection from data being harvested and used in phishing attacks, hidden document metadata (author, usernames, server names, etc.), comments and revision history is automatically removed from documents as they are sent and received. To prevent internal actors from exfiltrating data using steganography, images are also sanitized.

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Email Encryption

Encrypting data in transit is a mandatory requirement for organizations who need to comply with regulations such as HIPAA and SOX. Encrypting emails provides an additional layer of security and protects the data from would-be attackers or in scenarios where an employee accidentally sends confidential information to the wrong person.  

With TLS as standard, and cost options to provide either S/MIME, PGP and password protected files or web portal-based encryption, the Clearswift Secure Email Gateway allows sensitive data to be delivered securely, in seconds, using the optimal format for the recipient. 

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Email Archiving

Legislation requires organizations to retain important documents and communications, including email, so that they can be accessed if required for legal or compliance purposes. To alleviate storage concerns, many organizations implement an on-premise or cloud-based email archiving solution, where emails are stored securely and instantly retrievable should a compliance request be made.  

Clearswift, in partnership with Cryoserver, offers a comprehensive email archiving solution with incredible performance and functionality. It protects emails in a secure, tamper-proof environment and offers continuous access to mailboxes even if exchange servers are temporarily unavailable.  

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Email Security for Office 365

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Organizations looking for maximum security as they migrate their email to the cloud, deploy the Clearswift solution alongside applications such as Office 365. The Clearswift Secure Email Gateway provides a more comprehensive layer of protection against cyber threats and data loss. It offers refined DLP policy controls, additional features such as OCR, anti-steganography, and added protection against APTs.

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To find out more about how Clearswift Secure Email Gateway strengthens the basic security controls within Office 365, read our guide, Mitigating Information Security Risks in Microsoft 365.

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Email Security Solutions from Clearswift

Clearswift offers a range of email security options and packages to suit individual requirements. Its Secure Email Gateway protects all incoming and outgoing email communications, while its Secure Exchange Gateway scans only internal email traffic. ARgon for Email is an add-on security solution that enhances the DLP capability of existing email gateways to improve security and reduce risk.

Security packages range from Essential through to Advanced, with encryption features available as an additional option. Clearswift also provides Hosted and Managed Email Services.

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