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  • Writer's pictureIan Greig

Navigating the ever-evolving landscape of email security

The landscape of email security requirements is constantly evolving. This is largely due to the ever-growing sophistication of cyber threats and the increasing emphasis on data protection and privacy regulations worldwide. Global providers are changing their requirements, with both Google and Yahoo introducing crucial changes to their email delivery requirements at the start of 2024 as an example. In this ever-evolving landscape, A1’s Ian Greig explores the potential changes and trends within email security that firms should be considering this year: 


  • Stricter Compliance Regulations: Governments and regulatory bodies are under pressure to enhance firmer compliance requirements related to email security and data protection. This comes as no surprise since 2023 saw a 72% increase in data breaches since 2021 (Forbes).  More stringent compliance demands could mean that businesses will face a mandate to implement specific security measures regarding their email communications. This could include multi-factor authentication, encryption, and regular security audits, to safeguard sensitive information transmitted via email.


  • Enhanced Encryption Standards: For most firms, there is a heightened focus and pressure to protect sensitive information from unauthorised access. In order to achieve this, there could be a potential increase in the adoption of stronger encryption standards for email communication. This focus could encourage a trend of widespread implementation of end-to-end encryption protocols to ensure that only intended recipients can access the content of emails.


  • Greater Emphasis on Phishing Prevention: Phishing attacks remain a significant threat to email security and cybersecurity professionals. Infosecurity magazine shared that 94% of cybersecurity professionals had to respond to a phishing attack that was related to email in 2023. As a consequence, implementing robust anti-phising measures is a top priority for firms as these attacks can often lead to data breaches. Such measures can include advanced email filtering technologies, employee training programs, and the adoption of email authentication protocols like DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance).


  • Adoption of Zero Trust Architectures: As the complexity of cybersecurity threats grows, firms need to work towards adopting zero trust architectures for email security to mitigate such threats. The approach works on a "never trust, always verify" principle. This requires continuous authentication and authorisation checks for all devices and users when attempting to gain access to email systems, irrespective of their network environment or location. 


  • Integration of AI and Machine Learning: Cybercriminals are already using AI in email attacks, meaning that attacks are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and difficult to detect. However, according to Mimecast, ‘email security vendors are using AI in their defensive tools to stop attacks that leverage new and emerging attack methods in email’. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms is therefore part of the solution to countering AI-driven attacks. These technologies can help firms to identify and mitigate against emerging threats in real-time by analysing patterns, anomalies, and historical data to distinguish between legitimate and malicious email traffic.

 

The future trajectory of email security requirements is likely to be shaped by a combination of technological advancements, regulatory changes, and evolving threat landscapes. There is a greater need for firms to create cyber defence strategies that break down the threats potentially arising from an email. Firms need to proactively invest in robust email security solutions to mitigate the risks associated with cyber threats and regulatory non-compliance. At A1, we work with firms to build such strategies, helping them to evolve with the changing email-security landscape and stay ahead of any developments, whilst mitigating against potential risks and obstacles.



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