What is Email Security?
A Complete Guide

Why do you need to have a managed email security solution?

Email Security

What is Email Security? A Complete Guide

In today’s threat landscape, learning how to protect yourself and your business from cybersecurity and email security threats is essential. This guide will tell you all you need to know about email security and how to prevent malware, spam, and phishing attacks.

By Cian Fitzpatrick | March 10, 2023

User typing login and password at home, secure access to the personal information and big data. cyber security, the digital crime concept, and data protection from hackers.

Email security protects accounts and messages from unauthorised access, data loss, or compromise. To strengthen security, organisations can use policies and tools to prevent threats like malware, spam, and phishing attacks. Email accounts are often targeted by cyber attackers since they provide a vulnerable entry point to other accounts and devices. A single unintentional click can trigger a security breach with severe consequences for the entire organisation.

How secure is email?

An email was created to promote openness and accessibility, allowing individuals and people from the same or other organisations to communicate with one another. Nevertheless, the inherent security of Email is not dependable, which will enable attackers to bypass it and make money. These attackers conduct spam campaigns, deploy malware and phishing attacks, execute advanced targeted attacks, or conduct business email compromise (BEC) schemes. Due to the extensive usage of Email as a primary mode of communication in most organisations, attackers exploit its vulnerabilities to steal sensitive information.

As Email is an open format, it is open to interception by anyone, raising concerns about email security. The issue became particularly acute as organisations began transmitting confidential or sensitive information through email. This could be easily read by an attacker who intercepts it. Organisations are enhancing security measures to deter attackers from accessing sensitive or confidential information. Topsec is also a part of this intense security drive. We offer tailored email security services individually designed for your company’s specialized needs and desires.

Types of email threats

Data exfiltration

Data exfiltration refers to unauthorised data extraction from an organisation, either utilizing manual transfer or malicious software. Email gateways are useful in preventing businesses from transmitting sensitive data without proper authorisation, preventing a costly data breach.


Malware is a term for malicious software designed to cause damage or disturbance to computer systems. These malicious software comes in various forms, such as viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware.


Spam refers to unsolicited messages sent in large quantities without the recipient’s consent. Businesses often use spam email for commercial purposes. But scammers use it to spread malware, deceive recipients into sharing sensitive information, or demand money through extortion.


Impersonation is a deceptive tactic used by cybercriminals who pose as a trusted individual, sender, or entity via email to extract money or data. A business email compromise is one such instance where a scammer acts like an employee with the intent to steal from the company, its customers, or its partners.


Phishing is a fraudulent practice that involves impersonating a trustworthy individual or organisation to deceive victims into sharing valuable information, such as login credentials or other forms of sensitive data. It can take various forms, including spear phishing, smishing, vishing, and whaling.


Email spoofing is a risky threat that involves tricking the recipient into believing that the Email originates from someone other than the actual sender, making it a useful tool for business email compromise (BEC). Since the email system only reads metadata that the attacker can easily alter, it is difficult for the email platform to differentiate between a fake and a real email. Furthermore, it makes it relatively easy for the attacker to impersonate a person known or respected by the victim.

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Why is Email Security Important?

For over twenty years, email has been a crucial communication tool in the workplace. With an average of 120 emails received daily by employees worldwide and over 333 billion emails sent and received daily by individuals. However, cybercriminals view the widespread use of email as an opportunity to initiate attacks, such as phishing campaigns, malware, and business email compromise. Shockingly, 94% of all cyberattacks commence with a malicious email. 

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), cybercrime caused over $4.1 billion in losses in 2020, with business email compromise causing the most significant harm. The impact of a successful attack can be severe, leading to significant financial, data, and reputational damage for organisations. Therefore, email security is necessary to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information, to ensure business continuity, and to uphold trust with customers and stakeholders.

Email Security Policies

In today’s corporate world, email has become an indispensable tool for communication, leading many organisations to implement protocols for handling email traffic. One of the initial policies that most businesses adopt pertains to monitoring the content of emails passing through their email servers. Determining the appropriate actions based on the email’s contents is critical. Once the fundamental policies are in place, companies can implement additional security measures to safeguard their emails.

Organisations can implement various email security policies, ranging from basic measures like filtering out executable content to more complex ones, such as subjecting questionable content to in-depth analysis using sandboxing tools. For security incidents, the organisation must clearly understand the nature and extent of the attack to assess the damage caused. By having visibility into all outgoing emails, organisations can also impose email encryption policies to ensure that sensitive information is not compromised.

Email Security best practices

To establish good email security practices, organisations should consider implementing a secure email gateway as a first step. This gateway is responsible for scanning and filtering all inbound and outbound emails to prevent malicious threats from entering the system. That said, traditional security measures like blocking suspicious attachments are no longer adequate due to the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks. Hence, organisations should deploy a multi-layered secure email gateway to counteract threats effectively.

Implementing an automated email encryption solution is crucial to assess all outgoing email traffic and identify sensitive material. When the content is deemed sensitive, it should be encrypted before it’s sent to the recipient to prevent attackers from accessing the Email, even if they intercept it.

Organisations must ensure email security is not solely dependent on the system in place, as users’ actions also play a significant role. Educating employees on proper email practices and distinguishing between safe and harmful emails is another crucial step for email security. Even if a malicious phishing email passes through the secure email gateway, employees can still recognize and report it, if adequately trained.

The benefits of Email Security

Businesses of all sizes have come to recognize the significance of prioritizing email security. Implementing an email security solution that protects against cyber threats and safeguards employee communication has become crucial. There are several benefits incorporated with the use of email security:

  • Safeguards a company’s brand, reputation, and financial bottom line as email-based threats can result in catastrophic costs, operational disruption, and other serious implications.
  • Boosts overall productivity by deploying a robust email security solution. Businesses can minimize the chances of operational disruption and downtime due to a cyberattack. A comprehensive solution helps security teams streamline their response and keep up with increasingly advanced threats.
  • Ensures compliance with data protection regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while helping to avoid the hidden costs of a cyberattack, including business disruption, legal fees, and regulatory penalties.

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Types of Email Security services

Secure Email Gateways:

The Secure Email Gateway (SEG) actively identifies and prevents email-based threats while  transmitted to or from an organisation’s email server. To install the SEG, an organisation changes the DNS MX records to direct email traffic to the SEG instead of the server or Mail Transfer Agent (MTA). The SEG examines and screens all incoming and outgoing email traffic for malicious content before directing it to the organisation.

In the past, Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) were highly effective for email security, but their effectiveness has diminished with the development of corporate IT infrastructure. SEGs protects the perimeter only, so internal malicious emails remains undetected. Also, they often require organisations to disable the built-in protection of their email providers, which allows threats to slip through. Moreover, SEGs can only block known threats during an inspection, making it difficult to handle new phishing emails detected after being delivered to a user’s inbox.

API-Based Protection:

A different option to the Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) is an email security solution that utilises the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) offered by email services like Microsoft 365 or G Suite. These APIs enable the email security solution to integrate directly with the email service and deliver protection without redirecting traffic or turning off the built-in security features.

An email security solution based on APIs can offer the same security features as a Secure Email Gateway (SEG) while also providing advantages such as the ability to monitor internal email traffic and mitigate threats that have already reached the user’s inbox. An API-based solution is more effective than an SEG and can provide a complete security approach.

Email is a significant cybersecurity risk for organisations. So, implementing an email security solution is essential for a comprehensive security strategy. It provides various critical features, including:

  • Anti-Phishing Protection
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
  • Malware Blocking
  • Content Disarm and Reconstruction (CDR)
  • Account Takeover Prevention

Email Security Tools

In the digital age, email communication is essential for everyone, from individuals to businesses. However, email security threats can put sensitive information at risk. Email security tools are designed to mitigate these risks by protecting against email-based attacks and ensuring secure email communication. Deploying a secure email gateway, whether on-premises or in the cloud, can provide comprehensive protection against malicious, unwanted, and business email compromise (BEC) emails. With granular visibility and business continuity features, it can offer multi-layered protection and ensure that organisations of all sizes can maintain email communications during an outage. Using an email encryption solution is a way to decrease the likelihood of regulatory violations, data loss, and breaking corporate policies while also facilitating important business communications. This email security solution should apply to any organisation that wants to safeguard sensitive data while ensuring it is still easily accessible to partners, affiliates, and users, whether on desktop or mobile devices. Email encryption solutions are particularly critical for organisations that must comply with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, or SOX or adhere to security standards such as PCI-DSS.
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How Can Topsec Cloud Solutions Help?

Topsec is an email security firm that employs advanced technology and high-level security measures to protect companies from email-based risks. The company’s 2 decades-long experience has resulted in various strategized email security services that guarantee real-time threat recognition, continuous monitoring, concierge support, incident response and remediation, email archiving, and phishing awareness training.

  • Topsec 365 Protect is a program developed by our team to answer your internal email protection needs. With Topsec, you can rest assured that your email is continuously monitored for any threats, with real-time remediation. We ensure that your internal communications are always secure.
  • Topsec’s AI systems work 24/7 to detect suspicious inbound or outbound traffic. In case of an inbound delivery failure, Topsec will queue the traffic and notify the client to log into their Topsec Continuity Service to continue sending and receiving emails without interruptions. And, for outbound traffic, Topsec automatically quarantines any compromised email accounts and alerts you immediately, so you can act quickly to prevent further damage.
  • Topsec understands the value of your time and the importance of your resources. That’s why we offer a Concierge Service with a 15-minute response time, providing you with market-leading support. With a resolution rate of 89% on first contact, Topsec can make your life easier by taking care of everything for you, from rule changes and allow/block lists to track and trace and quarantine releases. We become a part of your support team, reducing calls to your help desk by up to 30%.
  • Topsec’s responsibilities continue to provide incident response and remediation support, so if you face any email security issues, we’ll be with you every step of the way, day or night. Our high-quality Email Archiving service ensures that you comply with eDiscovery orders and Subject Access Requests outside of MS 365 for compliance, continuity, security, and commercial reasons.
  • At Topsec, we know that your staff is your greatest strength but they can also be your biggest potential weakness. We offer  Managed Phishing Awareness Training as a service to ensure your staff knows the latest Phishing and Social Engineering exploits. With periodic real-world simulated attacks and regular video-based training with exams, we give our clients a quantifiable risk profile of their staff.

In short, Topsec Cloud Solutions is your partner for all your email security needs. We offer a managed service with the best protection possible, dedicated support, and proactive measures to safeguard your internal communications.

Contact us today for detailed information about our services.

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Email Security FAQs

Google is committed to ensuring the security of its Gmail users. It has implemented several methods to guard against different forms of attacks, including phishing, spam, and malware. Gmail uses HTTPS encryption to safeguard users’ connections, incorporating spam filters and phishing protection. Nevertheless, as with any email service, users may still be susceptible to attacks. They may become victims of social engineering techniques, such as clicking on a harmful link or revealing personal information.

Topsec’s team strategizes email security solutions with multiple layers of protection to guarantee the safety of email communications. It includes anti-phishing measures, malware blocking, data loss prevention, content disarm and reconstruction, and account takeover prevention.

Users should avoid opening emails from unfamiliar or dubious senders or those with suspicious subject lines or attachments. Caution should also be exercised with emails that demand personal or financial details, urge immediate action, or use urgent language. Additionally, users should avoid clicking links or downloading attachments from unfamiliar or suspicious sources. They may contain phishing scams or malware.

The best email protection compromises of several key components. It must have anti-phishing protection, malware blocking, content disarm and reconstruction, data loss prevention, and account takeover prevention. An email security gateway that offers multiple layers of protection, real-time threat detection, and ongoing monitoring can fulfill these requirements.

Email security is vital for organisations that use Email to communicate. Particularly those that handle sensitive information, including financial institutions, healthcare providers, law firms, and government agencies. In addition, businesses that must adhere to data protection regulations, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and PCI-DSS, also require email security.

A secure email server is an email server that incorporates various security measures to safeguard against email threats. It may be malware, phishing, and spam. Such measures include email encryption, firewalls, and spam filters, which help to secure email transmission and avert unauthorized access. Secure email servers can be hosted on-premises or in the cloud depending on the organization’s specific requirements.

A secure email server is an email server that incorporates various security measures to safeguard against email threats. It may be malware, phishing, and spam. Such measures include email encryption, firewalls, and spam filters, which help to secure email transmission and avert unauthorized access. Secure email servers can be hosted on-premises or in the cloud depending on the organisation’s specific requirements.

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