Cloud Filtering & Email
It’s no secret that email carries a host of security risks. From phishing to man-in-the middle attacks, users face a barrage of potential threats. But these threats don’t only target individual users. Malware, spoofing, and distributed denial of service attacks each pose network-wide risks. It’s no wonder, then, that IT professionals and MSPs have turned to cloud filtering and email security and continuity platforms such as SolarWinds MSP (formerly LOGICnow) to safeguard their networks.
The Scope of Web Security Threats
In 2014, there were an estimated 43 million cyber security incidents across the globe. Many organizations work through successful attacks. Yet for others, cyber attacks are devastating. Cyber attacks can cripple an organization for days and potentially cause long-term harm by damaging an organization’s reputation.
One report found that while the largest share of data breaches come from hackers, a shockingly large number of attacks originate with email. In large-scale tests, for instance, roughly 30 percent of phishing attacks were opened.
Email attacks are successful partly because of the sheer prevalence of email, both at home and in the workplace. In 2015, for example, there were roughly 2.6 billion email users sending about 205 billion messages per day. It’s a high-volume activity, and that makes it ripe for exploitation.
Because of this consistent threat, MSPs rely on cloud filtering solutions to safeguard employee email.
Types of Email Attacks
Some of the most common email and cloud filtering threats tend to fall into the following categories:
While not the greatest threat an MSP will encounter, spam is still a nuisance. Spammers fill inboxes using command-and-control systems that direct botnets to email legitimate servers. Spam volume can be heavy. Each day, in fact, email users receive an average of 16 spam messages. That kind of volume clogs up precious server space.
Spam filtering can take place in several ways, beginning with an email application at the SMTP level. Applications may also be installed on the client level, in order to differentiate between spam and authentic messages. Spam checks include the use of blacklists, the analysis of email patterns (such as misspellings) and the search for recognized spam signatures.
In email spoofing, the attacker falsifies an email header, making an email look as though it came from a different source.
To protect against spoofing, mail administrators may adopt an anti-spam approach. They may also use DomainKeys Identified Mail. This method of key encryption ties each message to the domain it was sent from. While there’s no foolproof way to prevent spoofing, email users may mitigate their risk by regularly setting new passwords.
This fraudulent activity involves an attacker trying to learn information, such as logins or passwords. To do so, the attacker imitates another email address — often one that’s reputable. In a phishing attack, email messages may look completely legitimate, though they tend to have bad grammar and spelling.
Phishing prevention can involve the installation of toolbars that compare sites against a compilation of known phishing sites. Firewalls act as a buffer, too.
- Denial of service
DoS attacks happen when hackers send large numbers of emails to a user, intending to overload an email client or crash the network. This overload can prevent users from getting their mail, browsing the web or using other online services.
DoS attacks cannot be prevented completely. But to minimize the risk of an attack, administrators can install antivirus software and firewalls that restrict traffic between endpoints.
This attack involves an intruder convincing other parties that they are involved in an actual email communication. The attacker stands in the middle of these parties, and steals information that they share.
To protect against man-in-the middle attacks, administrators can encrypt data between clients and email servers. Browser plugins also help, creating a secure connection to blunt the attacks.
An umbrella category that includes viruses, Trojans and spyware, malware’s intent is to gain access to a computer or to harm it. Malware often looks as though it has come from a legitimate email address. When the user opens the malware-infected attachment, the software spreads to the system and may later replicate in connected computers or devices. This can damage an entire organization’s network.
Malware defense involves the use and maintenance of antivirus software across an entire network’s fleet of devices. Education is also a key tool. Users, especially those who aren’t tech savvy, must receive training on malware threats and the dangers involved in email attachments and illegitimate websites.
Additional Web Security Steps
Mail administrators may take a number of additional steps to secure their network’s email. For one, they may ensure that email servers are fully patched and maintained, with fully configured user authentication. Administrators may choose to take precautions on the client side, too. This work can involve patch updates to email clients and changing client settings.
But clearly there’s a problem with this threat-by-threat, patch-by-patch approach. The variables are too many, and the potential for user error is too great. Not to mention that it’s resource intensive.
Consider a mail administrator who uses a firewall or another spam filtering device. This tool would be installed at the network level. But here’s the problem: in this case, the spam is still being delivered to a server, draining its finite storage and processing power to run the filter.
Many MSPs have to maintain mail clients one-by-one and rely on a bevy of tools and imperfect patches. They have to perform this maintenance at both the client and network levels. Clearly this inefficient option isn’t scalable.
Preventing Threats From Reaching the Server
But this isn’t the only way to do business. Instead of setting up lots of small shields, it’s possible to entirely reroute the attacks. This is the benefit of email security gateways, especially those that are based on cloud filtering.
In an email security gateway, all email traffic first runs through a filter. Here, antivirus and other applications scan the mail in order to filter out security threats and spam.
In some cases, this filtering takes place in the cloud, on a remote server. The benefits of this option are huge. Resources aren’t drained, and a system based on cloud filtering places minimal demands on users themselves.
Cloud Filtering Solutions From SolarWinds MSP
Fortunately, this kind of solution isn’t a hypothetical. SolarWinds MSP’s Mail Protection offers a scalable, hyper-efficient platform that you can run across your networks with unbreakable email security.
With our secure cloud filtering, SolarWinds Mail Assure scans messages before they ever reach your network infrastructure. This keeps attacks and spam far away from users’ inboxes and overtaxed mail servers.
Our layered security approach and anti-malware engines make sure that business mail remains safe and secure, so that employees can refocus their attention on their highest priority: doing their jobs without distraction.
SolarWinds Mail Assure allows you to:
- Eliminate spam
Our email security uses fingerprinting to identify spam and other unwanted or harmful email. Advanced analysis checks headers, message encoding and other characteristics in order to determine message senders. And with real-time source analysis, we track the patterns and volume of email flow to determine whether your networks are being actively spammed.
- Identify and block threats
SolarWinds Mail Assure relies on an industry-leading combination of four antivirus engines. But it doesn’t stop there. SolarWinds Mail Assure identifies malware even in advance of new virus signatures. And with geographical filtering and attachment blocking, administrators can more closely manage the emails that land in employee inboxes.
- Blacklist, whitelist and quarantine
You can update your own blacklists and whitelists with SolarWinds Mail Assure. And with our cloud filtering, you can access simple digests that break down quarantined messages.
An Industry-Leading Platform
Security and stability are the bread and butter of SolarWinds Mail Assure. But there are a number of other reasons MSPs rate SolarWinds Mail Assure as the industry leader, including:
- Office 365 Security
SolarWinds Mail Assure adds a crucial layer of security onto Microsoft Office 365’s defaults.
- Office 365 Stability
By adding a layer of email redundancy, MSPs can ensure that client networks don’t experience any email disruptions amid potential hours-long Office 365 outages.
SolarWinds Mail Assure archives mail in the cloud across geographically diverse servers. With encrypted and compressed archiving, SolarWinds Mail Assure makes sure that your sensitive data is tamper proof and secure.
- Email continuity
Organizations’ mail servers can fail. But with SolarWinds Mail Assure, employees can still check their email while using our web interface.
Free 30-Day Trial
MSPs and IT professionals continue to choose intelligence with SolarWinds MSP. Our solutions, including SolarWinds Mail Assure, are built for their needs. We eliminate the daily burdens of managing numerous networks, and with our eminently scalable and efficient platform, MSPs can spend less time on tiresome administrative tasks.
That leaves more time for expanding your client base. And best of all? You can try out SolarWinds Mail Assure for free, no strings attached. Get up and running in ten minutes and see why other MSPs continue flocking to SolarWinds MSP.
About SolarWinds MSP
SolarWinds MSP (formerly LOGICnow) delivers the only 100% SaaS, fully cloud-based IT service management (ITSM) platform, backed by collective intelligence and the highest levels of layered security. SolarWinds MSP’s products — including Risk Intelligence, Remote Management, Backup & Disaster Recovery, Mail and Service Desk — comprise the market’s most widely trusted integrated solution.
Deployed on millions of endpoints across hundreds of thousands of networks, the platform has the industry vision to define and deliver the future of the market. SolarWinds MSP provides the most comprehensive IT security available as well as LOGICcards, the first ever IT notification feature powered by prescriptive analytics and machine learning.
SolarWinds MSP’s passion is helping IT professionals secure and manage their systems and data through actionable insights, rewriting the rules of IT.
For more information, visit www.solarwindsmsp.com.
Tech Target: http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/photostory/Email-attacks-that-threaten-networks-and-flood-inboxes