Email has become so widely used as a means of communication that it is often taken for granted. In businesses where thousands of emails are sent every day, users don’t always have time to consider email security before selecting a send or open command.
Most workers assume that email security is taken care of by their IT support team. With this safety net in place, the mailing of sensitive information doesn’t seem so risky. However, email continues to be an easy target for common security breaches, and law firms are by no means immune to this danger.
This is not just an IT problem. Email attachments or links embedded within emails are two of the most common ways in which cyber threats enter a business. Even educating employees to be wary of suspicious looking emails is not enough to prevent the more sophisticated malware getting through.
Technology has transformed how we do business, and email needs to be overhauled in a similar way. Email security in 2019 has become more about creating a culture of security than being reactive to specific threats. Here are some of the most important updates to email security happening in 2019 and beyond.
Automated email security for efficient resourcing
There are so many attempted attacks on email that businesses can’t be expected to keep up with them all. Automation is being used for a range of business functions, and its application in email security is becoming more prevalent.
By automating security tasks which don’t need to be undertaken by human workers, security spend can be reduced and skilled employees deployed to tackle more complex issues. This is particularly valuable considering the skills gap in cybersecurity.
Most businesses using automated processes for email security do so for the prevention and detection of threat. An area in which advances are expected in 2019 is the investigation of threats to assess their severity. The longer term development effort will relate to automated remediation of issues.
Although this is growing area, specialists recommend keeping human involvement in the remediation stage for now. Technology is not yet sophisticated enough to go it alone, despite that there are products out there that claim to be.
Machine learning for user support
There is a trend towards the use of machine learning (ML) to identify behaviours rather than trying to identify malicious content, which will continue to change.
ML algorithms examine data and predict whether files are malicious, but employees are still the last line of defence against an attack, so relying on ML alone is not the objective. Instead, there is support for ML and users working together to create human reinforcement of algorithms and machine backups for human error.
Phishing will step up a gear
After successfully convincing users to click on malicious links, enter valuable data on fake sites or download affected content through mass attack emails, scammers are planning a more customised approach. Using realistic, fake email addresses, signatures and company branding, they may impersonate trusted individuals in a business to gain access to data and funds. Harder to spot, these phishing scams challenge email security and encourage businesses to turn to artificial intelligence (AI) to stop them.
Advanced AI can identify communication patterns in email messages. Through examining emails sent by, say, the CEO of a company, the language and links typically sent to their contacts can be profiled. Any emails that deviate from that profile are flagged as suspicious. Unfortunately cybercriminals also have this kind of AI at their disposal, so spotting suspicious emails is not straightforward.
How to protect your firm with email security
Businesses around the world risk losing over $200,000 from a cyber attack every year, and the UK currently spends less on cybersecurity than most other European countries. The time is now to ensure your firm is taking all reasonable steps to protect sensitive information and keep clients and employees safe. Contact us, and we’ll help you develop a strategy that ensures your systems remain safe and secure.