Cloud Based Email Filtering

Cloud based email filtering is one of the easiest and most straightforward methods of blocking unwanted and unsafe emails.

Like the majority cloud based applications, an email filtering solution hosted in the cloud has no capital expense, is automatically updated and offers a high degree of adaptability.

Secure, scalable, and universally applicable, cloud based email filtering is an effective way to mitigate the cost and dangers of unfiltered email with minimal maintenance overhead. Additionally, with a cloud based solution, organizations can manage their online security from any Internet-linked device.

The cost of unfiltered email is usually measured in lost productivity. Researchers have established that it takes an average staff member four seconds to identify and delete a spam email. From that information it has been calculated that a group with 500 employees – each receiving five spam emails per eight-hour day – will drain more than 109 days a year from the lost productivity.

The dangers of unfiltered email are possibly much worse. Successful phishing campaigns, spoofed emails and email-based cyber attacks can cost groups millions of dollars. Without effective protection against these risks, it is only a matter of time until a phishing email succeeds or an attachment containing malware is opened and the network is infected.

The 2020 Cost of a Data Breach report from IBM Security/Ponemon Institute showed the average cost of a data breach, from a malware infection for instance, was $3.86 million. Even data breaches and malware infections at small businesses can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses. By comparison, the cost of configuring cloud based email filtering is typically $10.00 per employee per year.

Cloud based email filtering works in exactly the same fashion as other professional email filtering solutions. Multi-layered security mechanisms inspect all inbound emails against lists of spammers and other malicious IP addresses. The security mechanisms also review for emails that contravene sender policy frameworks to detect phishing and spoofed emails. Antivirus protections are in place to identify malware, ransomware, and malicious code and advanced spam filters also include sandboxing to identify unknown malware dangers.

Any emails that are blocked by the email filter are quarantined – along with any recognized by anti-virus software as containing infected attachments or links to websites known to harbor malware. The filters also review outbound emails for spam and viruses to stop the group’s IP addresses from being blacklisted by global blacklisting services and reputation damage. Some spam filters, such as SpamTitan, permit certain data types to be tagged – e.g. Social Security numbers – to prevent the data from being sent using email.

The main difference between cloud based email filtering and a virtual or physical appliance is the filtering mechanisms work in the cloud. In order to access the service, organizations simply have to make a small amendment to their mail exchanger (MX) record in order to redirect inbound and outbound emails through the service supplier’s server.

Not all cloud based email filtering solutions are identical. They can differ in their ability to identify spam block web-borne threats, or recognize bona fide senders. Some filtering solutions will label spam email but not quarantine it, whereas others give end users the option of how it should be operated.

When considering what is the best cloud based filtering solution for their specific circumstances, organizations should consider these questions:

  • Can the advertised levels of spam detection be proven?
  • What percentage of genuine emails get spotted (false positives)?
  • What anti-virus software is used to identify web-borne dangers?
  • What method of recipient verification does the solution provide?
  • What cloud based hosting options are in place for the solution?
  • Can independent testimonials be provided by the service supplier?

Thereafter, which is the strongest cloud based email filtering solution may depend on factors such as simplicity of use, technical support, and cost. Wherever possible, groups should ask for a trial run of the solution in order to see it working in their own environment.