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Email is a trusted communication method for organizations worldwide. With the rise of the work-from-home model, emails have now become more crucial for business communication. However, email channels can be hijacked by cybercriminals to infiltrate your business network; steal or corrupt data; and launch phishing attacks, ransomware attacks, and more.
Secure email gateway software can help your business prevent cyberattacks launched via emails. It stops email messages that contain spam, malware, phishing, or fraudulent contents from reaching their intended recipients. It also scans outgoing emails for spam or malware to ensure your business accounts or domains aren’t added to spam blacklists.
Secure email gateways do much more than just protect your email accounts from impersonation or account takeovers. This buyers guide has all the information you need to purchase an email gateway solution that caters to your business requirements.
Here’s what we'll cover:
- What is secure email gateway software?
- Common features of secure email gateway software
- What type of buyer are you?
- Benefits of secure email gateway software
- Key considerations
- Market trends to understand
What is secure email gateway software?
Secure email gateway software is an email security solution that monitors and protects your company’s email servers. It scans the contents of all outgoing and incoming emails to detect and block malicious contents, such as spam, malware, and phishing agents. It helps prevent email data breaches and also lets you meet regulatory compliance and data security standards.
Common features of secure email gateway software
Software features vary by product or vendor, but most secure email gateway platforms have the following features in common:
|Threat protection||Protect email contents, communication, and servers against unauthorized access, malware, phishing attacks, and other threats.|
|Email filtering||Filter the contents of inbound emails to identify unwanted, malicious, or unsolicited data and move them to the spam folder.|
|Email monitoring||Monitor incoming and outgoing communication to protect against external threats and to ensure sensitive information doesn’t leave your organization.|
|Data loss prevention||Protect business-critical data from being lost, misused, or accessed by unauthorized users. The software also helps prevent data breaches and comply with industry regulations.|
|Encryption||Encrypt, or disguise, the contents of sensitive email messages to prevent them from being accessed by anyone other than the intended recipients.|
|Reporting/analytics||Use reporting and analytics to get insights into metrics such as the number of threats detected by the software and the top spam senders.|
|Email archiving||Archive email messages for records management, internal audits, regulatory compliance, or future reference. Store the messages in a format that can be digitally indexed, searched, and retrieved.|
|Third-party integration||Integrate the secure email gateway software with other tools such as cybersecurity, web security, and cloud security platforms.|
|Email continuity||Continue to send and receive emails during unplanned server outages. The software acts as a backup system that can temporarily take the place of your email servers during outages.|
What type of buyer are you?
Before purchasing software, you should assess which buyer category you belong to. The majority of secure email gateway buyers belong to one of the following categories:
- Small and midsize enterprises (up to 500 employees): Most small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have a strict security budget. Also, they don’t have a dedicated cybersecurity team to back up critical data or continuously monitor their email servers. Buyers in this category should select a budget-friendly secure email gateway that offers comprehensive protection against malware, spam, phishing, and other common threats. They can even opt for free software versions or trials before making an actual investment.
- Large enterprises (over 500 employees): Large businesses have the budget to invest in advanced security solutions. They usually have an in-house security team and dedicated experts to maintain their security networks. They also have more employees than SMBs, making them more prone to human errors that can cause cyberattacks. A fully featured secure email gateway solution that provides encryption and customization would be a good fit for such buyers. These capabilities will allow them to set up customized data leak prevention and filtering policies to monitor the threat landscape continuously for better protection.
Benefits of secure email gateway software
Below is a comprehensive list of benefits you can expect from deploying a secure email gateway solution:
- Better protection for sensitive data: Hackers can infiltrate your company’s email channels to target unsuspecting employees and gain access to confidential data. A secure email gateway protects your employees from threats such as viruses, spam emails, and phishing attacks. It not only blocks malicious emails from entering your servers but also encrypts any sensitive data leaving your business networks.
- Improved compliance: Email gateway software helps your business meet the various security requirements imposed by regulatory agencies. Features such as email archiving and encryption allow you to back up and save email messages and encrypt outgoing communication that contains sensitive information. These features help ensure compliance with internal email security or data loss prevention policies as well as industry regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when selecting an email gateway platform:
- Threat intelligence: Email security solutions with threat intelligence capabilities offer advanced real-time threat protection. They not only identify and block malware but also help administrators understand how their networks are being attacked, which mediums are being used, who’s attacking them, and which users are being targeted the most. A secure web gateway with threat intelligence functionality can learn threat patterns in real time to help your business mitigate risks.
- Deployment options: Analyze your organization’s needs to check which deployment option will suit you the best—cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid. Cloud-based software has low upfront costs, requires zero maintenance, and will allow you to scale easily, but your data will be stored in third-party servers. With on-premise software, your IT infrastructure and data will be available onsite, but these tools are expensive and need a dedicated inhouse maintenance team. You can also choose a hybrid model that combines the benefits of both cloud-based and on-premise email security tools. When making a selection, take the maintenance cost, deployment cost, and scalability of all three models into consideration.
Market trends to understand
Here’s a recent trend in the email gateway software market that you should be aware of:
- Increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for email threat detection. AI- and ML-based email security tools can extract and analyze thousands of email data points to identify common threat patterns in malicious messages. Based on this analysis, they can set rules and blacklist emails they find suspicious. These tools can also get additional insights from observing and analyzing emails in a wider context, i.e., across your company’s email servers, business networks, and cloud environment. This self-learning capability of AI and ML helps detect known threats as well as unknown, evolving threat agents.
Note: The application selected in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or a recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.