The popular image that the Hollywood film and television industry has created to depict hackers often ignores how business-savvy many of them are. The most sophisticated cybercrime groups know a lot about modern business operations because they conduct significant research in this regard. Corporate culture is something else hackers are very familiar with, and therefore they often target their victims through email systems.
Email is an IT component that has managed to stay relevant in the business sphere since IBM released the OFS business automation package in the early 1970s. Even though digital business communications have been expanded with the advent of modern platforms such as Slack and Microsoft Teams, the reality of email in 2022 is that it continues to be a preferred mode of business communications. When you look at how Teams and Slack operate, for example, you notice that they are applications that feature a tight integration with email.
So now that we have established that email is not dead by any means, let's look at another reality related to this platform. Effective email management is crucial to all business organizations, but it can be overwhelming for some companies in terms of organization and security. Hackers know this all too well, and they often take advantage of it. According to a study conducted by Osterman Research among businesses users of Microsoft Office 365 email services, nearly 90% experienced information security issues over a 12-month period of assessment. This does not mean that each issue resulted in a security incident; nearly half of the business users analyzed were able to prevent losses, but the study clearly illustrates the need for management and security solutions.
The Risk of Opening Email Messages
At universities that offer information security degree programs, one real-life scenario that is often brought up to show email risks is the 2016 phishing attack against the Democratic National Committee, an incident that played a major part in the election of former United States President Donald Trump. It is easy to think about how history would have turned out if the recipient of that specific message, which was doctored to look like a Google security alert, had been ignored; however, let's go back one step and think about the possibility of that message never reaching the targeted inbox.
The cybercrime group behind the DNC email breach knew that their message had a strong chance of being opened. The false information within the email indicated that someone in Ukraine had attempted to access a Gmail business account. At the time, several email servers across Eastern Europe had been taken over or spoofed by Russian hackers. High-profile political organizations such as the DNC follow internal policies that direct staff members to open or at least acknowledge every email message because such is the dynamic nature of elections season.
The problem with opening all email messages is that every one of them can be a potential security risk these days. To a great extent, it is a good business practice, but it is also dangerous. A better solution would be to only open the messages that should be relevant to your business while deleting the rest without having to open them. This is where email management solutions come in.
The Safety and Efficiency of Professionally Managed Email
Checking your business email should not be an exercise in risk management. At SynchroNet, we have developed an email management solution that keeps your inbox free of dangerous messages that may be filled with malware or frivolous spam. Your filtering options can be configured to only allow safe messages that you can archive, forward, flag, and index for future retrieval. This also reduces the load on your email servers.
If your business handles sensitive or confidential information via email, you will need a management solution that focuses on security as well as compliance; to this effect, SynchroNet provides data encryption, reliable backups, and email structures that comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). For most business organizations, email management is a matter of operating within the provisions of law, and this is part of what SynchroNet has to offer.
Finally, if your office operations call for email to be forwarded to mobile devices, you will want to ensure that only relevant and safe messages are delivered. Research studies have shown that email users tend to be more impulsive when they get their messages on the go, which is why you want to minimize the risk of phishing attacks.