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Maximizing Email Security: Explore the Potential of Secure Email Gateways in Protecting Business Communications

Empower your business and transform your email security into an unbreakable fortress against cyber threats.

Email continues to be an indispensable tool for communication in businesses of all sizes. However, with its widespread use comes the increased risk of exploitation and heightened exposure to cyber threats, such as phishing attacks, malware, and spam resulting in Business Email Compromise, or BEC. This is where Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) come into play, offering a robust layer of defense against these threats. Yet, a question often arises: “Do we have to run Secure Email Gateway on our whole email tenant? Why can’t we just select certain mailboxes for it to run on?” 

All-Encompassing Defense

Emails serve as vehicles into your business’s digital realm, and an SEG operates as a centralized security layer that scrutinizes all incoming and outgoing emails for potential threats. Opting to implement security measures on only selected mailboxes, rather than your entire email environment, leaves the unprotected accounts exposed to threat actors. 

Understanding through an analogy: An email security gateway (SEG) protecting a few accounts is like having one guard at your office entrance. Hackers can still sneak in through other doors or windows. A tenant-wide SEG is like having guards at every entrance and cameras everywhere – it completely secures your email system. 

Unforeseen Targets

Determining which email accounts are ‘important’ and warrant protection can be a misleading strategy. One might argue that only high-profile or sensitive accounts merit SEG protection, but this overlooks an essential aspect of cybersecurity: the unpredictability of targeted attacks. Cyber attackers do not discriminate based on the perceived importance of an email account. New hires, seasonal employees, or even accounts that seem inconsequential at first glance can become vectors for cyberattacks. By excluding any mailboxes from SEG coverage, you inadvertently create security gaps that hackers can slip through.

Whaling is a specific type of phishing attack that targets high-level executives or other important figures within an organization. Think of it as big-game hunting in the world of phishing. While regular phishing attacks cast a wide net, whaling targets specific “whales” within an organization who hold valuable information or resources. 

Lateral Movement

Cybersecurity isn’t just about preventing initial breaches; it’s also about stopping hackers from moving laterally within your network once they’ve gained entry. Cybercriminals often employ a “foot-in-the-door” strategy, where breaching one account is merely the first step. An attack on a single, unprotected account can be the foothold attackers need to move laterally across your network, access more valuable data and systems and cause extensive damage. Ensuring SEG protection across your entire email tenant acts as a critical barrier against such attempts, making it significantly harder for attackers to penetrate deeper into your systems. 

Business Email Compromise is the leading cause of Ransomware infections and data exfiltration breaches, leading to severe and grave repercussions. An investigation from the United States Secret Service estimated that BEC schemes result in approximately $8 million global daily losses.  

Optimizing Efficiency and Streamlining Management

From an administrative perspective, selectively applying SEG protection complicates security management and increases the risk of oversight. Managing security on a mailbox-by-mailbox basis is not only cumbersome but inefficient. Uniform protection across all accounts streamlines security protocols, making it easier to enforce policies, conduct audits, and respond to incidents. This comprehensive approach simplifies the management process and ensures that every user benefits from the same high level of security, reducing the overall vulnerability of your business to email-based threats. 

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) reported that BEC attacks caused adjusted losses of $2.7 billion in 2021, significantly higher than ransomware costs at the time. 

Enhanced Visibility and Control

SEGs offer more than just filtering; they provide valuable insights into email traffic patterns, potential threats, and the overall health of your email ecosystem. Implementing SEG protection across your entire email tenant maximizes this visibility, allowing you to detect and respond to threats more effectively. This level of oversight allows you to proactively harness a bird’s-eye view of your email security posture, ensuring no threat goes unnoticed. 

Secure Every Corner

While the idea of selecting specific mailboxes for SEG protection might seem appealing for cost or management reasons, the reality is that full-scale protection is crucial. It ensures that your business’s digital communications are safeguarded against the full spectrum of email-borne threats. Your email system is a unified entity, and its security should be treated as such. By implementing a Secure Email Gateway across your entire email tenant, you’re not just protecting individual mailboxes, you’re safeguarding your business’s integrity, data, and future. 

Protect your inbox to protect your business: Start your journey to complete email security with General Informatics

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Get to know Aaron Lancaster

Aaron Lancaster is a security expert with a history of providing superior cybersecurity solutions to clients in numerous industries. With over 16 years of experience in the cybersecurity field, Aaron brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and holds credentials that go beyond most in the industry.

In his current role as General Informatics’ Information Security Officer, Aaron is responsible for leading General Informatics’ Security Consulting Practice. Prior to being acquired by General Informatics, Aaron served as the CEO and Founder of 1 Ping Security. Aaron is a highly sought-after speaker and is often delivering keynotes to national security conferences. He has attained a vast amount of security certifications and holds leadership roles amongst multiple security associations and alliances.

In addition, Aaron is a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served as a scout reconnaissance helicopter pilot and Information Assurance Security Officer. He earned a Graduate Certificate in Pentesting and Ethical Hacking from the SANS Technology Institute and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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Don Monistere is an Entrepreneur, Published Author and Accomplished Executive.

Monistere is the CEO and President of General Informatics. Monistere joined the General Informatics team in 2020 and has been actively growing its reach since. General Informatics is one of the fastest growing IT services providers in the Southeast and is considered the leading IT partner for businesses, schools, government agencies, and for the financial and maritime industry.

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