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Why Layering Email Security on Microsoft 365 is Mission Critical for MSPs

Virtually every business considers email a precious commodity today. End-users expect ease of use at little cost. Despite these expectations, many are unaware that email systems are inherently weak regarding email security.

While each platform has safeguards, many of those protections are (based on scores of examples) relatively ineffective against advanced cyberattacks. The increasing barrage of ransomware points to the overall apathy most end-users have towards incoming messages. Human errors and ignorance regarding email messages remain the biggest threats to business security.

According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Breach Investigations Report, one-fourth of data breaches involved phishing. These numbers were likely boosted by the pandemic, which saw attacks rise nearly 600% during the past year. Add into the mix that the average data breach can cost organizations upwards of $8 million, and you’ve got a big problem.

The systems touting their bulletproof protection often become the first targets. End-user misperceptions also encourage cybercriminals to exploit the defences of these platforms, exposing corporate and personal data and jeopardizing their compliance with regulations and industry standards.

Additional Protection Levels Should No Longer be Optional

The top email provider, Microsoft 365, sits squarely in the crosshairs of many malicious actors. As more businesses adopt global cloud platforms, cybercriminals will amp up the attacks on those applications to gain the most financial rewards for their efforts. Hackers will focus wherever they’ll get the most return on their investments, and for business email, M365 is by far the top target.

The reality is multifunctional platforms will always require supplemental protection. Most businesses expect comprehensive coverage from companies with deep-pockets but, more often than not, end up with their data or networks accessible by cybercriminals.

Selecting ‘off the shelf’ or ‘cloud suites’ with security protections is a positive first step. However, hackers have access to the same options and APIs as developers, making those platforms easier to infiltrate for those with the right (or wrong) skills.

Closing the Gap

General security practices tell us any potential point of failure should have at least two defence layers – and that same standard applies to Microsoft 365. MSPs must take on the responsibility of protecting and educating their clients on all the vulnerabilities and latest email threats, including those they believe are already being addressed by Fortune 500 cloud suppliers.

That task includes adding layers. Boosting protection for various aspects of these platforms may not stop every attack, but it prevents your clients from being the “low hanging fruit” cybercriminals are after. Those layers could include:

Inbound and Outbound Filtering

It is essential to add a solution that stops certain information from entering or leaving your clients’ systems. While Microsoft 365 offers basic filtering options, end-users often report receiving a high amount of spam and false-positives. Complicating the matter is most cannot easily find blocked messages, which can create a log jam and more support requests for your MSP tech team. No one wants to miss essential emails concerning business transactions or upcoming deadlines, especially if they never realize those messages could be missing. Upgrading to a higher-level filtering system allows your clients to properly sifting through spam, viruses, phishing, and other issues.

Consider upgrading to Mailprotector’s CloudFilter, which not only lets users review potentially harmful content but handles messages more intelligently to reduce false-positives. Your clients can also create incoming and outgoing mail policies to prevent sensitive information from leaving the work environment. MS 365 is not naturally intuitive in that area. Still, the addition of CloudFilter makes it easier for end-users to understand security details in messages and improves the visibility of quarantined messages.