Small Business Email Filtering

Amanda Mariatti

Published:21 Jul, 2020

In an era in which unsolicited emails account for more than half of global email traffic, and email phishing campaigns are reportedly increasing by 400% per year (Google – Gmail report, 2018), implementing an email filtering service is no longer an option for small businesses, it’s an imperative.

Although a basic filtering service exists on most email platforms, spammers and hackers are becoming more sophisticated in how they operate. Basic email filters do not have the complexity to recognize sophisticated spam messages and can often allow obvious spam through or label genuine emails as spam by mistake.

With online security experts universally agreeing that the volume of unsolicited emails and email phishing campaigns is only going to increase, small businesses can enhance their security profiles and mitigate the risks from email threats by implementing a professional anti-spam email filtering service.

Why you need an email filtering solution?

Emails are the most common vehicle for cyber attacks. In a typical scenario of a successful attack, as an example, an employee of a company receives a phishing email and opens it. The link or the attachment the user opened consists of malware that spreads like a virus in the system. Not only does it extract all the data from inside the hard drive, but it also gives the attacker the ability to operate the server of the host. This event means that the attacker can track every email that any user from the organisation sends, thus exposing the entire company to the threat of data leakage. The hackers may also carry out more phishing in the name of the organisation, appearing as a trustworthy source and maximising their chance for more success.

Any data leakage can result in a sequence of disasters, not just for one organisation, but for others it has dealings with. Such data leakage for business includes financial details, company policies and budget etc. This security failure can amount to massive financial losses as well as damage to the organisation’s brand reputation. When an organisation suffers from these attacks, so do the employees, clients, related businesses, and shareholders.

By comparison, the cost of an effective email filtering service is negligible. Most professional services are now hosted in the cloud – eliminating the need to buy hardware.

Common types of email attacks

There are four common types of email attacks that take place:

Phishing: non-targeted emails sent to masses of addresses at once posing to be a legitimate institution in order to lure the recipient into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking and credit card details, and passwords.

Gathered information is then used to access important accounts and can result in identity theft and financial loss.

Spear Phishing: unlike normal phishing, this is a targeted attempt to steal sensitive information such as account credentials or financial information from a specific victim. This is achieved by acquiring personal details on the victim such as their friends, hometown, employer, locations they frequent, and what they have recently bought online. This is the most successful form of acquiring confidential information on the internet.

Viruses & other Malware: Email attachments are one of the oldest and still the most popular ways to spread malware. Senders write their message so that recipients are tricked into clicking a link to a malicious site in the body of the message, which automatically installs malware.

The riskiest form of malware in emails is Ransomware which can lock your files and ask you to pay a ransom to unlock.

Spam: non-targeted, unsolicited bulk email, sent in large quantities. It mainly consists of ads trying to sell certain products or services. Although they might seem harmless at first, spam is far from risk-free. It can cause network downtime and bring your daily business operations to a halt.

What do email filtering services actually do?

An email filtering service is a process of filtering emails that are inbound to the user’s mailbox and outgoing from the user’s server. Inbound email filtering checks and filters the incoming emails for spam, malware, suspicious links, etc. and also organises the messages into different categories or folders.

Robust email filtering services also inspect incoming emails for malware or links to websites that hide their true identity behind a proxy server. These emails are also quarantined and included in reports that enable system administrators to determine whether the quarantined emails should be delivered to the account holder (the sender may also be whitelisted to prevent future blocking) or deleted.

Outbound filtering scans the user’s outgoing emails so that it enforces employees’ adherence to the organisation’s policy. It also ensures that no spam, malicious content, or sensitive data makes it out of the server unauthorised.

Email filtering technology also use blacklists of senders and websites that have been detected in previous unsolicited emails and sender policy frameworks – creating updates in real time to prevent any recently created spam avoiding detection.

Selecting an email filtering service

In order to accurately evaluate the best email filtering service for small businesses, look beyond marketing headline claims and into the small print. Vendors of genuinely best in class email filtering services will be able to answer the following questions:

  1. Will the email filtering service be compatible with your existing system?
  2. Can the claimed levels of spam and virus detection be verified?
  3. What percentage of emails are blocked by mistake (known as false positives)?
  4. Does the service have recipient verification to reject emails sent to non-existent addresses?
  5. Is the service scalable so that the level of service can be increased or decreased as necessary?
  6. Does the vendor have reliable and knowledgeable customer support?

These are just some of the considerations to look at when choosing an email filtering service or solution. Once your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, only then should you consider the comparative cost from your shortlist of vendors.

Email filtering from Wontok

Anti-spam email filtering from Wontok ticks all the right boxes when it comes to providing protection and peace of mind for your small business. And with commonly used platforms such Office 365, GSuite etc. limited in their ability to protect against new threats, Wontok’s solution not only keeps up with a changing security landscape, but also provides businesses with simple to manage controls for maximum email protection.

Wontok’s best in class email filtering and protection technology comes as a standard inclusion for small businesses using our Wontok One for Business security suite platform – allowing incoming email on a mail domain to be easily and reliably filtered in order to significantly mitigate the risk from harmful emails and attachments.

To view a full technical summary of our email filtering technology features, click here.

Wontok One for Business enables to reduce commercial risk by simply and easily taking control of cyber protection including device, email, identity protection and insurance without the need for IT expertise.

If you are a Service Provider and want to know more about how to offer this solution for your customers, please contact our experienced team today.

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