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December 20, 2013

Is Your Email Secure?

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

As if we did not know that protecting critical information both when it is stored and on the move has become enterprises’ top priority as a result of all of the ominous headlines this year. Security experts are predicting that unfortunately 2014 is going to be another banner year for those with malicious intent.

The fact of the matter is that bad actors are like bank robbers, i.e., they go where the money is.  They also are like people who commit home burglaries in that it is much easier to prey on people and places with minimal or no electronic protection than it is to spend time on those who have been proactive and have security measures in place. 

We all know that as a result of things like BYOD, virtualization and the cloud that there has been an explosion of vectors of vulnerability for those with malicious intent to exploit.  We also know that hacking has gone from being something of a sport to being a highly rewarding activity.  Indeed, ransom has become commonplace as the bad guys hold enterprise information hostage in exchange for what have become some impressive payouts. 

Another unfortunate truth is that the most inviting target - and where attacks of all sorts are originated is corporate Email. The reasons are almost self-explanatory.

  • Email remains the lifeblood of how business in conducted 
  • Most employees to not think for a moment about how secure it is or is not including opening attachments (a true Pandora’s Box (News - Alert)) from what they think are trusted sources
  • Most enterprises have what amounts to minimal protections for email, and do not take simple actions such as encrypting outbound email.

 To put it mildly, what is the biggest vector of vulnerability may be the most exposed.

This does not and should not be the case.  In fact, as a New Year’s resolution, there are two you ought to consider.  First, you should make it a priority to understand the level of vulnerability of your current email protection. Second, if you don’t know but would like to know all of the steps to be taken and capabilities that are available to you to better protect your company’s email environment getting better educated and doing so early in the year would be a valuable present to give yourself.

With this in mind, there is a terrific resource available to you for free. Cisco (News - Alert) is running a series of webcasts on how to safeguard your email on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the next several weeks. Subjects to be covered include:

  • How to ensure world class protection: Block malware, blended threats and 99.999% of all SPAM entering your organization.
  • Automatic encryption of sensitive outbound emails: Auto-encrypt sensitive or confidential communications leaving your organization.
  • Improve compliance: Improve outbound email compliance and reporting with SOX, GLBA, HIPAA and State compliance policies.
  • Simplify email security administration: Eliminate false positive SPAM alerts from your day to day activities.

Diminishing risks to your organization, assuring compliance with various mandates and other governance requirements, and simplifying risk management are going to be top priorities all year long in 2014.  Why not start the New Year right, and make it a priority to know where your email vulnerabilities may be and how to address them.     

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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