In-depth

Email archiving systems: The forgotten element of cyber security

With cyber criminals ready to pounce on overlooked systems, there's no time to lose

A file folder of 1's and 0's floats on a web of connected @ symbols

You would be hard-pressed to find a business today that doesn’t rely to some extent on email. Whether it’s used for internal communication between employees, for formal communication with partners and customers, or a mixture of both, email is an important component of a business’ functions.  

No matter the type or extent of email usage, office workers receive an average of 121 emails per day. This creates data compliance and security issues, with a vast amount of data sitting in an employee’s inbox with limited safeguards, but workers can’t just delete these emails. With more than three-fourths of a company’s intellectual property accessible through email or messaging systems, many emails need to be organised, protected, and accessible long after they’re not regularly needed. 

An email archiving system is the answer to these problems, but it continues to be overlooked in many organisations. 

The data problem causes problems

121 emails a day is a lot of data. The typical worker’s inbox is being constantly stuffed with corporate resources and information, creating a data amalgamation that could overwhelm servers. 

It also creates an enormous treasure trove for cyber criminals to target. Email-borne threats were already on the rise pre-pademic, with phishing one of the most common vectors of attack. Now, with remote workers operating with lowered defences and accessing resources through personal devices and networks off-premise, attackers are evolving and ramping up their attacks.

It’s clear that there’s a threat to email security, and that this threat is only growing. It’s high-time for organisations to prioritise their email defences, which they can do by addressing their email archiving system. 

The role of email archiving systems

Email archiving is a simple way to optimise email management. It removes emails from your inbox and preserves them through continuous backup in a separate, easily accessible location. You’re still able to search through these emails by keyword, date, etc., but they’re out of the way of your main inbox,

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Besides clearing your inbox, email archiving serves a more important purpose: to minimise downtime in the event of infiltration. 

Email communication is vital for business operations, and without that functionality, it’s impossible for businesses to operate in the same way. Some archiving solutions offer extra disaster recovery capabilities to safeguard your data, and the best solutions feature barriers to fend off infiltration attacks. 

A Forrester study discovered that most organisations require better encryption capabilities, whilst only 30% believe their current systems support needs for automatic spam, malware and virus protection. Look for an email archiving system that addresses these concerns, providing the security measures necessary to allow employees to operate software with confidence. 

A desirable system should also ensure easy access through it's archives, be seamlessly integrated into existing infrastructure, and meet compliance requirements.

So why aren't they prioritised?

Why then, do businesses continue to overlook their email archiving systems? The software exists to ward off potential attackers, and yet the security gap isn't closing anywhere near fast enough.

The problem lies with awareness. Simply put, business users often don't know they're using an email archiving system. Under the assumption that such a thing doesn't exist, systems aren't given the attention they deserve despite their critical role in facilitating business operations.

So, allow time to study your email archiving system. Organisations would be well served to examine how effectively their current tools are fostering the speed and security demands of their users.

If current systems are found to be lacking, time mustn't be squandered. Cyber criminals are counting on you to continue overlooking your email archiving systems; until they are regarded as a priority, your emails will remain vulnerable prey.

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