While email certainly has become one of the most essential communication tools for every business, it still isn't perfect. One of the more common shortfalls is that it isn't the most secure of systems. In order to make it more secure, companies need to employ scanners and filters that search for malicious content, spam, etc. The problem is, these can be expensive. One solution might be managed email security.
What are managed email security services? The key to understanding what this type of service is, is to think of it as outsourcing. There is little doubt that companies need to secure their email but many small to medium businesses lack the staff and expertise to actually do this in reality. One way to secure your email is to simply outsource it to your IT partner.
An IT partner can work with you to establish and secure your email, by intercepting all email destined for your email addresses or domain. Many IT specialists employ advanced scanning software that looks for malicious software, images or even content that contains keywords deemed unsafe. The software then filters out these emails and sends the safe ones to your email servers or inbox.
These services typically allow you to establish and manage filters and black or white lists (black lists are a list of words or email addresses that you do not want to receive emails from). Because the companies that run these services are usually security oriented, they can work with you to ensure that emails coming in, and going out of your organization are secure, and free from malicious content.
Why would companies use them? There are many reasons as to why companies would use a service like this. Here are four of the most common:
- They operate in an industry with strict email regulations - Many industries, like the healthcare, legal and financial sectors, have strict regulations regarding security of communication. Companies have little to no choice, and must meet security regulations, or face heavy fines. A managed email security provider can help companies understand and meet these requirements.
- They lack an in-house IT department - The vast majority of small to medium businesses have thinly stretched IT staff, if any at all, who don't have the time to constantly monitor email security. By working with an IT partner, you can free up existing resources and allow your IT staff to focus on other areas of your business.
- They can't afford regular solutions - Small businesses run on razor-thin margins. Implementing an off-the-shelf solution takes time and money, both of which are likely non-existent. Because this is a managed service, you will likely pay a flat rate which is far more affordable than other solutions.
- They need a reliable system - In order to operate at maximum efficiency, companies need to be sure that their email system is not only working but will not suffer from downtime related to malicious software or other content in emails. Because these emails are filtered before they get to your system, companies will often see nearly 100% uptime of their email systems when they utilize an IT partner for email security.
- They should offer both spam and malware or virus scanning.
- They should have a Service Level Agreement with a guarantee stating how secure their systems are. Ideally, no malicious content should make it through.
- Do they offer the scanning and security of emails going both into and out of your systems?
- The security system should be adjustable to meet your specific needs.
- The system offered should be easily scalable to meet the growth of your company.
- Ideally, the system provider should have experience with the industry that you work in. This will increase security, while also going further to ensure that systems are secure and meet regulatory standards where necessary.