Email Security for Work-from-Home Employees is a Must-Have

This solution is an essential part of virtually every security strategy, but for remote employees, it’s a crucial line of defense.

Working from home can help keep employees safe and save businesses some operating costs, but it can also create a challenge for IT. The risks of phishing and malware attacks are always a threat, but this possibility is multiplied when more employees work from home and not under the watchful eye of a CISO. In 2021, email security solutions need to rise on businesses’ priority list and get the attention from managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added-resellers (VARs) that they deserve.

Things Work-from-Home Employees May Not Be Prepared to Handle

In the office, there is more oversight and control over the information employees are sending and receiving, which sites they visit, and the data they download. There is also the convenience of having the IT department right down the hall when something goes wrong. While working from home, it’s more difficult to ensure employees stay alert to threats and educate them on the latest scams and phishing schemes, such as:

CEO Impersonation: This phishing technique is especially tricky because employees recognize their CEO’s name and assume they need to comply with the request. Employees working from home may not be able to easily confirm if leadership is legitimately asking for credentials, account information, or financial transactions, but they may still feel pressure to provide it.

Malicious Accounts: Cybercriminals sometimes register email accounts with legitimate services to use them in business email compromise attacks. Within large corporations, employees may not think twice about opening an email from an unknown sender with their company’s domain.

Caving to Temptation When No One is Watching

Another concern among businesses with work-from-home employees is what they’re doing when no one is watching. Egress’ Insider Data Breach survey reveals that 61 percent of CIOs believe people, either intentionally or accidentally, have put data at risk.

Insider threats include malicious actors downloading data, customer information or intellectual property (IP), perhaps prior to resigning and taking it with them to a competitor’s business.  However, insider threats also include employees who are uneducated about email security best practices or don’t follow them. For example, many people have experienced the embarrassment of the “reply all” button. Unfortunately, when that email had attached files or contained sensitive information, it creates the risk of putting data into the wrong hands.

Employees working from home may drop their guard. For example, they may just hit “send” on an email containing a social security number or health information is the easiest thing to do. But it makes that data vulnerable and may lead to fines for noncompliance with regulations. They may also become lax with passwords, multifactor authentication or downloads, which can put even more data at risk.

How Email Security Solutions Help

With downtime, financial loss, and legal ramifications, a cyberattack can potentially add up to millions of dollars – and according to Deloitte, 91 percent of all cyberattacks begin with a phishing email. Many data breaches and system compromises can be prevented with a robust email security solution. Features that are particularly valuable to businesses with work-from-home employees include:

  • Content filtering of incoming and outgoing email traffic and flag or quarantine messages with suspicious attachments or content
  • Cloud hosting, which protects employees wherever they work and provide protection from spam, malware, and phishing
  • Encryption, an email defense feature that enables only the intended recipient to read the email’s contents
  • Phishing and malware detection, which can prevent emails containing known threats from delivery to an inbox or use pattern recognition to identify malicious content

Effective email security solutions work without any intervention from the employee, enabling efficient, streamlined workflows without the risk.

Be Prepared to Help Your Clients Protect Their Data in the Work-from-Home Era

It’s no secret that after 2020, working from home is the new norm for businesses. After COVID-19 became a pandemic, 88 percent of organizations worldwide made it mandatory or encouraged employees to work from home, according to Gartner. Splunk reports that, in that same timeframe, there has been a 47 percent increase in the severity of ransomware attacks, and Barracuda reports a marked increase in the number of email attacks – including a phenomenal 667 percent increase from February to March 2020.

The work-from-home phenomenon has created significant challenges, but also an opportunity for managed services providers to sell deeper into accounts and influence new purchasing decisions by educating their customers about the heightened risks related to email security. It’s something that every one of your customers and prospects needs to know about.