Security Architecture, Application security, Threat Management, Malware, Phishing

SC Labs product reviews: Email security

Editor’s Note: This set of reviews originally appeared in February 2020. To find out more about SC Labs, contact Adrian Sanabria at [email protected].

The use of collaborative tools and technologies is on the rise with email topping the list. That explains why it faces such relentless attacks. Email communications are leveraged to keep businesses running efficiently, but unfortunately, is often overlooked when it comes to implementing adequate security measures. Tools in the past have focused mainly on spam protection. However, we have recently seen impressive expansion in what these solutions offer. From advanced threat protection and encryption to machine learning and computer vision, email security has come a long way.

Timely and accurate detection of suspicious email content is crucial but security doesn’t end there. Even with sophisticated security tools, there is no 100 percent guaranteed solution. Therefore, malicious items are going to make their way into inboxes, and employees need to be prepared. Many of the solutions we looked at this month recognize the importance of employee awareness and have built-in training with real-world practices and customizable campaigns. Some solutions even offer pre-delivery malicious email prevention, but we have yet to find an impenetrable email security shield.

One of the primary entry points for malware, which can be devastating, is email. Therefore, finding an effective email security solution should be at the top of every information security to-do list. The tools we looked at this month go a long way in meeting these email security demands.

Email security

As the SC Labs team revisited the email security space we were happy to see some familiar players and excited to be introduced to new names. These email security solutions protect on-premise exchange servers, Office 365 Exchange Online and G-Suite Gmail for business solutions. The use of all collaboration technologies is exponentially increasing; this especially true for email. Finding an effective email security solution, therefore, should be at the top of every information security team’s to-do list.

Email security has evolved from simply spam protection and email encryption of on-premises exchange servers. Last year, the industry began integrating in earnest with cloud platforms, and now, cloud integration seems to be a standard offering.

This year, we saw a lot of exciting new features, including automation through machine learning, full end-to-end encryption of inbound and outbound communications, impersonation protection and sandbox analysis.

The incorporation of machine learning and artificial intelligence to this space seemed to be a natural next step. Machine learning technologies can now not only learn expected user behaviors but also analyze, detect, and respond to threats, a remarkable development to say the least. By learning from expected user behaviors, anomalous behavior is flagged and further investigated, dramatically increasing detection capabilities. In some cases, we even saw computer vision leveraged first to detect HTML changes or slight variations from trusted sites then to classify such pages as spoofed or unsafe. With some machine learning technologies capable of acting on threats in under a second, security teams and administrators are free to focus on other critical or complex items that require human analysis.

Although there is no 100 percent secure and fool-proof way to protect email communications, these solutions continue to advance with innovations and protective measures. A seatbelt is not guaranteed to save lives in every single accident, but it certainly adds significant protection to the individual wearing it. We think of email security in much of the same way. It cannot keep your inboxes completely free of suspicious or malicious content, but it adds significant protection to email communications. From end-user training to impersonation protection, sandboxing and beyond, these solutions are must-haves for every organization. It’s time to buckle-up your inbox.

Pick of the litter

Barracuda Total Email Protection provides every single feature on our wish list and then some. It uniquely supports functionality for the backup and storage of Office 365 files. The variety of its features and 24/7 support make Barracuda’s competitively priced solution an SC Labs Best Buy.   

IronScales IronThrone also checks off almost every feature on our list, but but what makes it stand out is that IronScales has taken innovation to heart with Themis, an AI implementation of a security analyst that triages and acts on reported emails. Its expansive features, including Themis’s next-gen email security approach, makes IronScales our SC Labs Recommended product for this month’s round of reviews.

Take a look at all the reviews

Abnormal Security – Abnormal Cloud Email Security Platform
Avanan 2.5.9
Barracuda Total Email Protection
BitDam ATP for Email
IronThrone 26.00.00
Mimecast Secure Email Gateway
SonicWall Email Security Solutions
Sophos Email Advanced
Vade Secure for Office 365 2.18
Virtru Email Protection

To view the complete product matrix please click on the image below.

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