Email, a critical business tool, is known as one of the most popular entry points for cybercriminals. Occurrences and damage from these security attacks continue to grow each year.
As a result, many businesses implement traditional security measures to protect from common external email threats such as phishing and ransomware.
After covering their data from outside threats, internal email security strategies are often overlooked. This is a huge risk because employees can intentionally or unintentionally cause a huge security breach.
Business owners and their IT teams need to ensure there is a strategy in place to protect themselves from an internal threat if they want to avoid the next big email security breach.
The Rise of Internal Threats
Internal, or insider threats, are defined as security risks to an organization’s data, with the attacker originating directly from the organization. Their occurrence is on the rise – according to the 2019 Insider Threat Report, 70% of respondents agree that insider attacks are becoming more frequent.
Carelessness and lack of awareness is a common cause of insider email security breaches. An email with proprietary or confidential information can mistakenly be sent to the wrong recipient. Or an employee may accidentally click on the wrong link or attach the wrong file. It doesn’t talk much to put an organization’s data at risk.
An employee with malicious intent may already have regular access to sensitive information. It’s easier for them to steal and distribute the information, without evidence of an intrusion.
The Consequences of an Internal Email Hack
These attacks can be intentional or unintentional, are difficult to detect, and can put a business at high risk of financial loss. All it takes is one disgruntled employee, or even a former employee, contractor, or business partner.
These attacks can be very damaging. An email hack has the potential to leak data, compromising sensitive vendor and client data. This can result in huge financial and productivity costs.
Compromised vendor and client data can cause potential to lawsuits. Certain types of malware can even pause business operations entirely. Companies may also need to hire someone to determine the source of the hack, adding additional expenses.
Solutions to Prevent Insider Attacks
Business tools like Office 365 offer built-in security features, but those aren’t enough for every organization. They are great for identifying basic threats but not good for advanced attacks.
Here are some ways to combat insider email security treats:
- Monitor Employee IT Behavior – Install software programs to track employee access and activities related to access and send alerts in case of unusual IT behavior. This behavior may include: logging into email at unexpected times or days and sending multiple attachments to outside email addresses.
- Automated Email Encryption – Outcoming messages containing sensitive information can be automatically encrypted so they cannot be accessed if intercepted by hackers.
- Email Scanning Services – Monitor emails leaving the organization – there are programs to search URLs and attachments to flag and pull messages with suspicious activity or attachments.
- Invest in Security Devices – Companies may purchase video surveillance cameras and employ biometric access to company hardware, such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition.
- Email portal – Use a secure email portal for sending sensitive content.
- Implement a Top-Down Approach to IT Security – Change your organization’s mindset to get every employee involved in IT security.
- Comprehensive Employee Training – Provide regular email security training sessions for employees, covering internal and external threats.
- Software Updates – Keep all security software updated on a regular basis.
By taking a more detailed look at your organization’s internal threats, you can define the ideal email security solution for your business.
Make Email Security A Top Priority
Whether coming intentionally or from negligence, insider threats continue to be a challenge that many companies face on a daily basis. Once the damage from a security attack is done, it’s often noticed too late.
There are a variety of ways to prevent a security breach. Organizations need an established, multi-layer approach to email security to protect from internal and external attacks.
Keep your email data secure. Partner with Wahaya to find the email security solution tools that are right for your organization. To help implementation, our team will provide an IT policy and conduct employee training so they can know exactly what to look out for.