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. With so many employers utilizing remote workers, email security solutions must rise on businesses’ priority lists and get the attention they deserve from managed service providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs).

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

The office has more oversight and control over the information employees send and receive, which sites they visit, and the data they download. There is also the convenience of having the IT department down the hall when something goes wrong. While working from home, it’s more challenging 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 must comply with the request. Employees working from home may not be able to quickly confirm if leadership is legitimately asking for credentials, account information, or financial transactions. However, they may still feel pressure to provide it.

Malicious Accounts: Cybercriminals sometimes register email accounts with legitimate services to use 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 do when no one is watching.

Insider threats impact more than 34 percent of businesses worldwide each year, and insider threats have increased by 47 percent over the past two years.

Insider threats include malicious actors downloading data, customer information or intellectual property (IP), perhaps before resigning and taking it 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 has attached files or contains sensitive information, it risks 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, which is the easiest thing to do. However, 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 add up to millions of dollars.

According to CISA, over 90 percent of all cyberattacks start with phishing, and there were over 500 million phishing attacks in 2022.

A robust email security solution can prevent many data breaches and system compromises. 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 provides 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 risk.

Be Prepared to Help Your Clients Protect Their Data When Employees Work at Home

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.