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How Integrated Cloud Email Security Helps Protect Your Data

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How Integrated Cloud Email Security Helps Protect Your Data

The increase in business email compromise (BEC) has led to improvements in the way corporations handle email security. Integrated Cloud Email Security (ICES) was first introduced as a core cybersecurity concept in 2021, and it's become an essential strategy for many organizations that need to combat common email-based threats. With Microsoft Office and Google Suite becoming main targets for credential theft and phishing, ICES is more critical than ever for businesses hosting many of their cloud productivity software.

 

What is Integrated Cloud Email Security (ICES)?

Instead of relying on employees to detect phishing, ICES connects to an organization's current email server and uses a third-party API to analyze every message and attachment that passes through the email system. The backend API performs the analysis using artificial intelligence, effectively detecting sophisticated phishing attacks and zero-day threats. Any suspicious email messages are flagged and quarantined so the intended recipient does not receive them, and administrators can further review them.

Microsoft and Google have embedded security in their email products, but it's insufficient. Several exploits have been discovered against Microsoft Office and Google Suite users. Although both tech companies quickly patch their software, businesses need a failsafe to protect their data as new zero-day threats are found. ICES offers a solution that directly interacts with Microsoft Office and Google Suite – and other email platforms – to scan all email messages before they reach employee inboxes.

In addition to artificial intelligence, ICES uses machine learning and natural language understanding (NLU) to detect attacks that traditional solutions can't. For example, using the latest advanced technology, businesses have better cybersecurity defense against spear-phishing, where attackers customize their strategies specifically towards their targeted victim.

 

Benefits of Using ICES for Cybersecurity

Adding another layer of security takes effort but reduces the chance of a compromise and saves corporations money in the long run. Phishing is the primary method attackers use to compromise a system, and businesses need a way to stop it. Cyber-criminal groups design a phishing emails to trick users into divulging their credentials, download malware to give attackers remote control of their machines, or trick users into running malware on the company network. All these reasons and more are why organizations need ICES.

  • Leverage native cloud security: Cloud platforms have the latest technology in cybersecurity monitoring and threat management, and these services are available to any business. Administrators don't need to install any complex infrastructure but must configure it properly. ICES takes away the overhead of managing your email security system.
  • Continual upgrades without overhead: Because the ICES connects to an API, the backend system is continually upgraded with new data and more efficient procedures. Administrators don't need to focus on testing and upgrades, but the business still gets updates behind the scenes without any overhead to staff.
  • Integrate security awareness training: A good ICES provider offers educational information to users so that they can better recognize phishing email messages. ICES should be an added layer to an organization's cybersecurity posture. Still, security awareness training should also be a strategy to help users recognize phishing, which is also a layer of security.
  • Administrator visibility into email usage: An ICES has reporting features available to stakeholders and administrators. Visibility into an email system shows administrators the number of threats blocked by the ICES and if any users need additional security awareness training to detect phishing attacks better.
  • Advanced technology and artificial intelligence: Traditional detection no longer works on sophisticated phishing and malware built to bypass detection. Organizations integrate an advanced system into their cloud email services using a third-party ICES. They leverage the third party's artificial intelligence and machine learning without coding or upgrading the system. Advanced technology is necessary for organizations to detect sophisticated attacks targeting business emails, including spear phishing.
  • Leverage natural language processing (NLP) and natural language understanding (NLU): NLP and NLU are also advanced technologies beneficial in detecting phishing and other email-based threats. When attackers build sophisticated spear-phishing messages, NLU and NLP are better equipped to detect nuances and block messages from reaching the intended recipient.
  • End-to-end encryption: Encrypted messages can't be read unless the recipient has the decryption key. Should an attacker eavesdrop on email traffic, messages would be unreadable when an organization uses ICES.
  • Automation with junk mail and categorization: The machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities in an ICES note how users categorize email and the messages sent to their junk folder. After a time, the ICES automatically categorizes messages for users to save time and offer more productivity for users receiving numerous emails daily.
  • Threat protection for zero days: When attackers realize their phishing and malware methods no longer work, they change their strategies to bypass current cybersecurity defenses. Any new zero-day threats are difficult to detect, but an ICES uses NLP, NLU, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to recognize threat changes to stop zero-days.

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What Type of Threats Do ICES Detect?

Email-based threats are more than phishing, so an ICES aims to stop malicious messages from reaching an intended recipient. Attackers know human error is an organization's weakest link, so email is the best vector for data breaches and malware. In addition, social engineering is often coupled with phishing, so an ICES can also help stop these threats.

A few email threats ICES stops:

  • Business Email Compromise (BEC): Stop attackers from stealing credentials and gaining unauthorized access to employee and executive accounts to avoid additional email-based phishing and social engineering.
  • Credential theft: NLP and NLU recognize when messages contain malicious embedded links or requests for credentials. Hence, the business is less likely to fall victim to a compromise from credential phishing.
  • Fraudulent invoice payments: Using social engineering and fake invoices, attackers can no longer send emails to accounts payable to send money on fraudulent invoices made to look like legitimate vendors.
  • Employee impersonation: Spoofed business sender addresses trick users into sending money to an attacker's bank account or convinces them to download malware. ICES stops spoofed sender messages from reaching the intended recipient.
  • Supply chain attacks: Third-party vendors are also targets for business compromise, including supply chain attacks where vendor email is compromised and used to send messages to their client list. The advanced technology in ICES detects suspicious messages from vendors and quarantines them for further review.
  • Account takeover (ATO): After credential theft, an attacker uses compromised email accounts or network credentials to install malware on the business environment, trick users into opening malicious attachments, convince users to download ransomware, or use social engineering to receive money. ICES detects suspicious account activity and stops this activity. 

 

Why Do Businesses Need ICES?

The cybersecurity landscape changes every year, and email-based attacks are much more sophisticated than even a couple of years ago. As a result, businesses need a way to detect phishing, social engineering, and other human-targeted vectors to stop employees from performing actions that could cost millions in incident response, containment, mitigation, investigations, compliance violations, and litigation.

Security awareness training (SAT) offers all employees and contracts educational content, so it's a great defense against phishing. However, more is needed and should be only one component of an organization's cybersecurity against email-based threats. Many sophisticated attacks use social engineering and phishing, so an ICES protects from weaknesses against multi-phased threats. 

Antivirus is also a good security layer, and it's required in compliant environments. However, just like security awareness training, it should not be a single line of defense for organizations. Instead, it should be one of several security layers, including email-based defenses an ICES offers. No system reduces an organization's cyber risk by 100%, even when the cybersecurity is layered. However, combining antivirus, security awareness training, and ICES significantly reduces cyber risk to a fraction of normal levels when just one of these components is missing.

As more cyber-criminals use email-based threats, more businesses risk becoming the next target. Data breaches cost millions in damages, so the added layer of security with an ICES dramatically reduces an organization's risk of being a victim. Current cyber defenses seem enough, but insider threats have become one of the most significant components of data breaches.

 

How PhishTitan Can Help 

TitanHQ is an expert at email security and phishing detection. PhishTitan is an advanced technology solution that runs in the cloud and offers an out-of-the-box solution for administrators to integrate security into their email services quickly. In addition, it works with Microsoft Office 365 and Google Suite, so organizations get an added layer of security integration with the native security offered by these platforms.

Sign up for a free trial to discover how PhishTitan can stop email-based threats from harming your business continuity and data protection.

PhishTitan is an advanced phishing protection solution for companies using M365, powered by AI technology. Sign up for our Free Demo to learn more.

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