When it comes to email security an organization has the option of going for two different approaches. It can either go for an off-the-shelf solution, which it implements on its own infrastructure, or it can decide to employ a cloud based solution. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, however in this article we will focus on the advantages a hosted email security solution provides in terms of security.
The first clear advantage of a hosted email security system is that your business will not require security expertise to protect your mail infrastructure. When buying an email security product to deploy on your server, you need to ensure that it is then installed in a secure manner and configured correctly for it to be fully effective. Although most modern products are easy to configure, you will still need an administrator that has a good grasp of the security concepts involved to ensure that no combination of events will lead to a security break down. Systems administrators trained in security can be hard to find and cost the company a good amount of money. Hosted email security solutions offload this burden leaving you with a peace of mind knowing that the email security infrastructure is well deployed and properly configured by professionals who have the necessary skills and work for a reputable hosted email security service.
When using a hosted email security service, any malware sent by email to your organization will be filtered at your service provider – this means that practically no malware will ever reach your organization. This has some clear advantages over having no email security at all because in such a case the malware will find itself in your users’ mailboxes; which is a high risk for the organization because someone might run the malware and infect the entire network. As for running your own mail security, there are also some small advantages here. In the event of a mis-configured solution, or even a solution lacking some features which requires additional modules to be purchased, there might be a small risk of malware getting through your organization’s defenses and even if your security solution would block and quarantine such malware, the administrator may execute the file by mistake while investigating the malware – human error that could prove cost. The risk is quite low but still it is a risk which a hosted email security solution would eliminate or, at the very least, reduce further.
Most hosted email security solutions operate as a gateway between the internet and your infrastructure in terms of email service. This means that one will still need to run his/her own mail server infrastructure. That being said however, when using a hosted email security solution, one can configure the firewall or the mail server itself to only allow connections from your service provider. This will protect your infrastructure from attacks by malicious hackers or spammers looking for servers to exploit for their spam distribution. Your server will be protected against these individuals because they will not have any access to your mail server, whereas if you were running your own infrastructure you would not be able to restrict access to any specific IP.
Email security, like other systems, needs to be kept up-to-date to be fully effective. You would need to run regular patching and upgrading to new versions as they are released by the vendor. This is not always feasible as it can be both expensive to buy the latest versions or to pay for maintenance agreements and because of resistance to change from the administrators and management. Both parties can resist upgrades for the same reasons; mainly a fear that upgrading can cause issues with a perfectly working system that could lead to downtime and financial or reputation losses.
There are various techniques email security systems use to protect your email. Some of these depend on training the system on contemporary spam and malware. Hosted email security solutions have a distinct advantage in this area in that they can get access to a wider variety of malware samples and spam to keep their systems up to date in terms of training than any other single organization ever can.
Although in this article we have gone through the different advantages a hosted solution would offer in terms of email security, there is no single solution that fits everyone’s needs. It is entirely up to you to decide what email security model you want to employ, depending on your budget and business requirements.
This guest post was provided by Emmanuel Carabott on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information on GFI hosted email security.
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