The Best Defense is Good Offense When Protecting Your Inboxes


Thought Leadership

The Best Defense is Good Offense When Protecting Your Inboxes

Zix Staff

There are 269 billion emails sent every day between the world's 3.7 billion email users. And 86 percent of professionals still prefer email over other modes of communication.
While email is as popular as ever, though, its evolved usage has led to even more evolved problems. People primarily access their inboxes though a mobile device rather than a desktop, and more often, sensitive information is delivered via email. Even spam — before simply an annoyance — has morphed into a malicious threat replete with sophisticated phishing attacks that aggressively target the inbox. In fact, of the 100 emails the average business user receives each day, up to 65 percent of that material can be classified as "antagonistic," meaning that it's either spam, malware or another cyberattack.
In a recent webinar, Zix discussed these facts and why email can have such a negative impact on businesses if email protection isn't a critical component of an organization's cybersecurity plan.

How to Build a Perimeter of Protection

In a test of risky email behaviors, 80 percent of the participants fell prey to at least one of the phishing emails sent to them. Conversely, only 3 percent of the participants got a perfect score on the test, meaning that they were able to differentiate all of the bad emails from the good ones. Considering there are over 4,000 ransomware attacks launched every day and many of them through email, it's very likely that one will find its way to your organization's inboxes and enable hackers to infiltrate your system.
Steps toward safeguarding the inbox range from initial defense measures, such as training users, to last-resort contingency measures, such as having a cyberattack recovery plan in place. Ultimately, though, businesses that don't focus their cybersecurity strategies on a comprehensive, multi-layered plan that includes both technology tools and user education fail to account for the diversity of the cyberthreat landscape and the growing rate of attacks.

  • Layers of filtering and machine learning. All incoming traffic should be compared against a known list of corrupt senders and suspect URLs. This screening will not keep out every threat, but it will block the most obvious, freeing up resources to focus on new and esoteric threats constantly popping up in the dynamic threat landscape. A combination of phrase, pattern and malware filters and machine learning will help defend against evolving and future threats.
  • Email encryption. Organizations should also implement encryption practices that protect communication and sensitive information in email. Policy-based email encryption can automate security and protect messages during transmission. It also keeps hackers from viewing details that could be used for social engineering, business email compromise and other attack variants. End-to-end email encryption requires users to take action but provides greater protection with security in transit and at rest. In the event, a hacker infiltrates your network, your most valuable communication is secured with an added layer of protection.
  • Threat reporting and message segregation. While technology tools are an invaluable asset, your people are one of the best lines of defense for identifying dangerous emails. Educating users on the most apparent inbox red flags and then encouraging them to report any messages that seem suspicious is essential. Those messages can then be studied to determine whether they are safe to open and help to adjust and improve cybersecurity strategies. Ideally, the same solutions that help you prevent threats today also help you track and analyze data related to the ones of tomorrow.
When it comes to email protection, the best defense is good offense. Waiting until your inboxes are already in peril will only aggravate the problem. Because once a malicious message arrives, it becomes exponentially more difficult to combat.
For a deeper dive into this topic and how Zix solutions fit into your cybersecurity strategy to better protect your organization, watch the archived webinar Email is Everywhere — Your Protection Should Be, Too.