How SMBs Can Outsmart Advanced Email Threats

Did you know that many business disruptions stem from email-based threats?

As a business leader, understanding and mitigating these risks is not just about technical know-how – it’s about safeguarding your company’s future. The security of your business email is not just a technical issue but a cornerstone of your business integrity. 

Navigating email threats is a critical task for SMBs. With cybercriminals becoming more sophisticated, it’s essential to understand the nature of these threats and how to counter them effectively. Let’s delve into a few critical ones:

  • Spear Phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC): These targeted threats involve impersonation and fraudulent requests. Actionable steps include implementing advanced email filtering, conducting regular security awareness training for staff, and establishing robust verification processes for financial transactions.
  • Account Takeover: Hackers gaining control of email accounts can lead to significant data breaches. To mitigate this, enforce strong password policies, utilize multi-factor authentication, and regularly monitor account activities.
  • Ransomware: A growing concern where attackers lock access to data or systems, demanding a ransom. Preventive measures include maintaining up-to-date backups, employing anti-ransomware tools, and training staff to recognize and report suspicious activities.

Recent statistics underscore the importance of these measures. The PwC Canada’s report highlighted that more than two-thirds of Canadian executives consider cybercrime their most significant threat, with sophisticated attacks like ransomware and phishing being prevalent concerns​​.

Further, Statistics Canada reported that in 2021, businesses paid on average $19,000 to recover from cyber security incidents, significantly higher than in previous years​​​​. These statistics reinforce the urgent need for SMBs to adopt robust cybersecurity measures.

Addressing these risks requires a blend of education, vigilance, and technological solutions. Educating your team on the nuances of identifying suspicious emails and implementing a robust email security protocol is essential.

Already Invested in Microsoft 365?

Many organizations, including many SMBs, rely heavily on Microsoft 365 for their daily operations. For those utilizing this platform, there are immediate steps you can take within Microsoft 365 to bolster your email protection:

  • Utilize Advanced Threat Protection (ATP): Microsoft 365 offers ATP services that strengthen defenses against sophisticated email threats like phishing and zero-day malware.
  • Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Activating MFA adds an extra layer of security, significantly reducing the chances of unauthorized account access.
  • Regularly Update and Review Security Policies: Use the security & compliance center in Microsoft 365 to periodically review and update your email security policies, ensuring they align with the latest best practices.
  • Educate and Train Users: Leverage Microsoft 365’s training features to educate your employees about the latest phishing and scamming techniques. Knowledge is a powerful tool in preventing security breaches.
  • Enable Alerts for Suspicious Activity: Configure alert policies in the security & compliance center to get notified about potential security threats or unusual activities.

While Microsoft 365 delivers essential security measures, there are critical gaps that could leave SMBs vulnerable. These gaps include advanced impersonation protection, data backup for email, and sandboxing to protect against zero-day threats. Layered security, which combines Microsoft 365’s features with additional specialized tools and services, can provide deeper and more responsive defenses. Third Octet’s solutions complement Microsoft 365 by filling these gaps, offering enhanced impersonation protection, real-time sandboxing, and more effective threat detection. This integrative approach ensures that your business is fortified against the full spectrum of email threats.

Tangible Results

Our Managed IT Services and Workplace Suite offerings are specially tailored to detect and neutralize a wide spectrum of email threats proactively. This proactive defense works silently in the background, often intercepting and resolving threats before they even reach your awareness. Tangible results back our commitment to safeguarding your business email. The diagram below showcases the breadth of threats we’ve successfully mitigated across our current customers (30-day window across 11,000+ mailboxes).

email threats

As evidenced by the data, we’ve intercepted and neutralized a significant volume of email threats, including:

  • Malware: Potentially devastating programs that can disrupt operations and steal sensitive data.
  • Phishing and High Confidence Phish: Deceptive attempts to trick users into giving up personal information or company credentials.
  • Spam and Bulk Email: Unwanted emails that can clutter inboxes and reduce productivity.

Our solutions are designed not only to react to these threats but to predict and prevent them, ensuring that your business operates smoothly without interrupting malicious activities. This visualization of our impact reflects our dedication to maintaining a secure environment for all our clients, especially those relying on Microsoft 365, who benefit from our tailored defense strategies.

But, let’s take a deeper dive on one customer who’s aggressively targeted by malicious actors and, specifically, phishing attempts.

email threats

Over the past six months, of the 3.6 million emails this customer has received, 4,300 phishing threats were detected (and with a meager false positive rate of 0.01%, meaning of the 4,300 threats detected, 349 were legitimate emails accidentally blocked). This protection layer was applied even before emails were delivered to their Microsoft 365 tenant through an additional layer of protection. Most of these threats were detected through obvious markers (e.g., malicious URLs) but also heuristic and behavioral markers learned from billions of emails scanned through the service.

Engage with Our Expertise

In the face of these ever-evolving threats, staying vigilant and prepared is not just a recommendation but a necessity for the longevity and success of your business. Remember, the cost of prevention is often far less than the price of recovery. With Third Octet’s Managed IT Services and Workplace Suite, you’re not just investing in advanced technology; you’re investing in peace of mind. By choosing proactive and comprehensive solutions, you’re positioning your SMB not just to withstand the cyber threats of today but to be prepared for those of tomorrow. Let us help you build a secure, resilient, and future-ready business.

At Third Octet, we understand that cybersecurity is a journey, not a destination. Our team is dedicated to partnering with you every step of the way. From personalized consultations to hands-on support, we’re here to empower your SMB with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in a digital-first world. Don’t let cyber threats dictate your business’s future—take control today and let’s build a safer tomorrow together.

Ready to enhance your cybersecurity posture? Contact our experts and discover how our Managed IT Services and Workplace Suite can transform your approach to email security. Be sure to inquire about our security assessment for Microsoft 365.

You May Also Like…