What is email filtering and why is it important?

Email is such a common form of communication that it often gets overlooked in conversations about security, yet cybersecurity attacks delivered by email pose a significant threat to businesses. A simple user error, such as opening a malicious link or attachment, can compromise sensitive data and could even bring down an entire network. Email filtering can be used to sort and eliminate spam and malicious emails, effectively combating this threat. Let’s take a closer look at how spam filtering techniques can help protect your business. 



What is email filtering?

Email filtering is a tried and true method of eliminating spam, but it also plays a key role in cybersecurity. A spam filter for email analyzes incoming mail for phishing or spam content and moves those emails to a separate folder. It’s likely that your email provider already offers this service on some level. Email spam filters spare you the annoyance of sorting through an excess of junk mail and reduce the risk of clicking on a malicious phishing link or attachment. Effective email filtering is therefore an important aspect of a business’s email cybersecurity. In the end, it saves time and might be what stands between your business and a security breach.



The importance of email spam filtering for businesses

It doesn’t matter what size your business is; if you’re operating online, cyberattacks present a significant threat. While cyberattacks have been an unfortunate reality since the advent of the internet, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a serious spike in cybercriminal activity


Many companies worldwide have been forced to allow employees to work from home, which has resulted in increased online collaboration and communication between team members — sometimes before the requisite cybersecurity has been implemented. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of this instability by probing organizations for weaknesses in their online security. 


It’s not only cybercriminals you need to watch out for, either. Many employees are adapting to a new way of working, sometimes before they’ve been trained in email best practices or common cybersecurity threats. 


One of the most common places for cybercriminals to lay their traps is in email malware. Malware is malicious software created to damage or extract private information from a programmable device, service, or network, usually for financial gain. Malware, including ransomware, can be hidden within links or attachments in phishing emails, which lure employees to open them under false pretenses. It is vital to your business’s security that you train your employees in email best practices and set up a spam filtering service in order to reduce this risk. 



Types of spam filtering 

Spam email blockers come in a wide range of types that utilize different methods of securing your correspondence. Some filters pinpoint telltale signs of spam, some filter out specific email addresses that have been blocked, while others scrutinize the content of incoming emails to ascertain their relevance to your organization. You can set the parameters of your email filtering system to suit your business’s preferences. Here is a list of six simple filters that help block risky email messages. 


Content or word filters


A content or word filter examines the body of an email for spam content. These kinds of filters analyze the word choices and syntax to determine an email’s authenticity. They detect signs that an email could be written by a bot, and scan for words or phrases commonly used in phishing emails. If the filter catches an email that appears suspicious, it will filter it out into a spam folder.


Header filters


These examine the email header for information such as the sender address, the recipient address, and the stops the email has made at servers along the way. This helps to determine if the email comes from any known spammer email addresses or shows signs of spam, such as an omitted sender address.


General blacklist filters


A general blacklist filter utilizes a blacklist of known spammers and blocks any emails that originate from these sources. 


Rule-based filters


A rule-based filter evaluates the precise wording in the header and body of the email based on a clearly-defined set of standards. 


Permission filters


A permission filter requires that the sender be approved by the recipient before any kind of communication takes place. This is a fairly strict protocol that is not suitable for businesses that regularly receive outside emails from interested clients, for example.


Challenge-response filters


A challenge-response filter (C/R) automatically replies with a challenge to the supposed sender of an incoming email. In order to send the original email, the sender is asked to verify they are who they say they are, usually in the form of a code. Senders who have previously been verified are not required to complete this action again. 



How an MSP can remove your risk

As well as handling your day-to-day technology needs, a Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) can implement stringent cybersecurity protocols to protect your business. In addition to installing the necessary antivirus software, handling backup procedures, and carrying out employee training, this will include setting up the email filtering service that best suits your business. 



Contact Jasco to improve your email security today

If you want to eliminate the threat of phishing and malware attacks, and stop wasting time trawling through unwanted emails, Jasco Technology is here to help. We can strengthen your email security practices with filtering solutions that protect your business from cyber threats.


There are levels of email security: Your current email provider probably has a spam filter, which will be basic but can help protect your systems. Better is consumer-level software, for example SpamHero at $60/year/domain. But if you want ULTRA effective protection, you need MSP-grade tools like ProofPoint, which provides sandboxes for real-time testing and other advanced features.


At Jasco Technology, we offer dedicated IT services for your entire business. We can recommend solutions designed to fit your organization’s unique needs and provide the cybersecurity you need to grow your business confidently and securely.

Get in touch with us today for a 20 minute introductory consultation.

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