If you take cybersecurity seriously, you know the importance of a multi-layered approach. Today’s cyberthreats range from ransomware to supply-chain attacks to cloud repository breaches. Successful MSPs use a variety of technologies and tactics to secure applications, networks, and endpoints from a deluge of new malware — not to mention painstakingly training users to recognize and avoid social engineering attacks.
And what do cybercriminals use to get around this carefully-constructed array of (often expensive) security measures? Email: the ancient, boring message exchange system at the heart of business communications.
Email is a primary attack vector
Email remains a critical tool for businesses — one they can’t go without — but it’s also a predominant vector of infection. As we showed earlier this year in the Acronis Cyberthreats Report: Mid-year 2021, a whopping 94% of malware is delivered by email, and the volume of phishing attacks rose by 62% from Q1 to Q2 of this year.
There’s little doubt that these trends will continue. Countless businesses around the world have shifted to a remote-first or hybrid work environment. Collaboration tools like email are thus only becoming more dominant and necessary, opening up greater attack surfaces. Meanwhile, the availability and integrity of data has become essential to daily operations for businesses of every size and industry. Companies are more motivated than ever to quickly resolve downtime and data breaches — even if that means paying a ransom to cybercriminals.
Yesterday’s approaches don’t meet the moment
Legacy email security solutions often rely on reactive measures like sandboxing and signature-based malware detection. But in today’s threat environment, where automation is driving a constant slew of attacks and new malware variants, simply reacting to threats is not efficient or sustainable. A proactive approach is needed, one that drastically limits the opportunities for humans to view or otherwise interact with harmful messages.
If service providers hope to keep modern cyberthreats at bay, they must invest in advanced email security solutions — enabling capabilities such as:
- URL filtering and anti-spoofing to identify malicious resources and block users from accessing them
- Attachment scanning and analysis with both static detection engines and dynamic ones that rely on behavioral analysis to identify malicious intent
- Anti-evasion techniques to detect hidden harmful content by recursively unpacking it
- Threat intelligence incorporation to stay ahead of emerging dangers
Email security basics — like training employees/clients on how to recognize phishing attacks and to avoid interacting with suspicious messages — should remain an important part of your protection foundation. But these are not enough to ensure the safety of your clients (or yourself) with any real confidence. Phishing campaigns are more complex than ever, often incorporating personal information mined from corporate websites or social media platforms to appear more legitimate and cause victims to let their guard down, however briefly. One such successful attack is all it takes to decimate a business, no matter how many threats were stopped before.
Advanced email security is not optional
MSPs must not only offer advanced email security services, but should also stress the importance of their adoption into clients’ cyber protection portfolio. An SMB who declines these services is one who places not only their own business at heightened risk, but yours as well.
Clients without advanced email security are more likely to fall victim to cyberattacks, making them more expensive to support. If the client carries cyber insurance, the carrier might try to recover damages from you as the MSP, even if its clearly the client who is at fault for refusing your services. And because many ransomware strains can spread beyond their initial target, such successful attacks introduce higher risk to your own systems, and in turn to your other clients downstream.
With these realities in mind, it should be clear that MSPs will need to remain vigilant, investing in new technologies and processes to keep pace with emerging threats. The adoption of advanced email security features will be an essential part of the puzzle moving forward, so ensure that your clients understand the real-world dangers and the importance of proactive protection. It’s not only their operational health that’s at stake — yours is as well.