The Importance of Email Filtering for Cybersecurity

Email filtering is a major part of cybersecurity

Love it or hate it, email is an important part of the business world. Every company uses it, and everyone needs to have it. 

Right now, you might be filtering your email because it helps improve your workflow or cut down on spam, and it’s certainly useful for that. Using the right email filters will keep you from being hounded by unwanted messages, which makes day-to-day work easier. However, did you know that email filtering is also a valuable tool to protect you from cyber threats?

That’s because spam isn’t just an annoyance. Some spam emails are obvious junk, but others are designed to trick you. In fact, one of the ways criminals gain access to computer systems, install viruses or spyware, steal information, or otherwise infiltrate your network is through spam emails. 

For instance, they may send you an email pretending to be from your IT department, telling you that you need to log in and reset your password. Once you do, your login details will be stolen. Criminals also use fake attachments or links to get you to install malicious software without knowing it. Once this software is installed, they can steal your data, corrupt it, or hold it for ransom. These attacks happen much more often than you might imagine. 

Email filtering prevents these harmful messages from reaching your inbox and the inboxes of your team. If they never see them, they won’t be tempted to interact with them. Even in cases where they do see them, if they’re filtered, most people will pause at this point and think about whether the email is legitimate, which is exactly what you want. If you see a message in your inbox and it’s flagged with a “this may be spam” title, you’ll think twice before doing whatever it asks. That keeps the company safe.

Cybersecurity Is About Reducing Risks

Unfortunately, criminals are constantly looking for new targets. They know if they send out thousands of emails, there’s a chance they’ll hit on a few—and that’s often enough for them. Once they have installed malicious software or tricked you into handing over your login information, they can steal your financial data, hold your company up for ransom, and much more. 

This is why it’s critical to protect yourself, not only with effective email filtering, but also with an effective security plan. There is no 100% impenetrable method of security, but you can certainly take steps to reduce your risk and keep your company safe. 

The importance of cyber resilience cannot be overstated, especially considering the perpetual threat of cyberattacks. Your organization’s longevity and prosperity hinge on the ability to identify and protect itself against potential threats. Unfortunately, many businesses that are hit with cyberattacks or that are victims of data loss do not survive. Even those that do survive are forced to step back, regroup, and rebuild following an attack, which is costly and time consuming. 

This is precisely why implementing a robust cyber risk management strategy is so pivotal. By reducing risk, you drastically lower the chances of your company being hit by a cyber criminal. 

Enterprises that use sophisticated cyber risk management frameworks have a significantly higher chance of avoiding attacks. However, the key is to mitigate risks without significantly increasing costs or hurting productivity. For example, if your email filtering system blocks out real emails or makes life more complicated for your team, then it will hurt your business. The same is true if you spend too much money or time maintaining it. 

A risk-based cybersecurity methodology is designed to concentrate organizational efforts and resources in the most critical areas. In short, it focuses where threats are the greatest. 

This approach, characterized by proactive threat identification and neutralization, minimizes the impact of potential cyber incidents and keeps companies functioning productively. 

The key attributes of a risk-based cybersecurity plan include:

One area where a risk reduction strategy is often implemented is in the area of email filtering. Installing effective email filters is a cost-effective way to drastically reduce cybersecurity risks and keep a company safe. 

How Email Filtering Works

Email filtering works to safeguard your inbox. It distinguishes the good from the bad, the legitimate from the spam. It prevents suspicious or wasteful emails from entering your inbox. 

An email filtering system watches all inbound and outbound email traffic. It scans messages and classifies them into categories. An email filter inspects a message in several ways to determine its validity. In some cases, it checks IP addresses and email addresses, cross-referencing them against spam databases. Since some IP addresses and some areas of the world are known to be commonly used for spam messages, emails originating from there face an extra layer of scrutiny.

However, an effective email filter is also fluent in the language of spam. It sifts through phrases, detecting the signs of spam messages. Certain phrases commonly appear in spam emails, and a filter is trained to spot them. This list of words and phrases is periodically refreshed to ensure it’s up-to-date on the latest spam trends.

Of course, email filters aren’t infallible. The goal is to reduce risk; risk cannot be eliminated entirely. Team members should also be trained to recognize potential threats that may get through the filter and report them immediately. This helps keep the entire company safe. Train your staff to be on the lookout for dangerous emails and instruct them never to enter their login information, click links, or install software if they aren’t 100% certain that an email is valid.

The Right Cybersecurity for Your Business

One of the first steps to finding the right cybersecurity for your organization is to analyze your risks. Your company’s email system is one of the largest potential risks. Using email filters to keep malicious messages out of inboxes goes a long way to protecting your business.

There are other threats, too. Determining what they are and recognizing the most vulnerable areas of your business is crucial. You’ll need to find out where your business might be hit, determine how much damage may be caused, then direct your resources to where they’ll be the most effective. 

Building security doesn’t just protect your company, it also protects your reputation. A data breach may be catastrophic for your company’s image. Customers won’t want to work with an organization that puts their sensitive data at risk. 

Depending on your industry, there may also be government and industry regulations in place. Maintaining compliance with these rules is crucial. 

However, you don’t want to overspend on any service. That’s understandable. Your company has a bottom line, and every expense matters. This is why a risk-based approach is so effective. When you’ve properly analyzed your company’s risks, you can direct your resources to where they will be the most effective. This gets you the most bang for your buck. 

At Aptica, we are here to help you keep your organization safe. Cybersecurity is critical for every business, both large and small. Some smaller companies may assume that they don’t need protection, since they believe they aren’t large enough to be targeted. Unfortunately, criminals often seek out smaller companies because they believe they don’t have adequate protection. Don’t let your business become a victim.

If you’re not sure of what cybersecurity actions to take or you don’t know where to start with your company risk reduction plan, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with our team and learn what you can do to secure your organization.

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