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10 things you'll really want to ask an email security provider

In March 2017, statistics showed that global spam accounts for around 57% of total email traffic. With over half of the world's email communication being counted as spam, you can imagine just how many threats there are every day to your business's network security, employee productivity, and ultimately your overall success.

Man on a laptop checking email

 It only takes one email virus to affect your whole company, damaging its data integrity and email systems, as well as costing you a huge amount in damages and lost time.

For this reason, it's vital that your email security is top notch. You need to be protected from email viruses, phishing, spam, denial of service attacks, directory harvest attacks and email flooding. A cloud-based email security service can certainly help. But which one should you choose and why?

Here are 10 questions you should ask when deciding which email security provider to buy...

1. Is customer support extra?

Email security providers will sometimes charge you more for telephone support or put a cap on the number of calls you can make. This kind of a service is not good enough, especially when email and web is a critical part of your business.

Choose a provider who gives you unlimited telephone and email support. You should be able to reach them whenever you need them. It is important to note that it is typical for out of hours support to cost extra, just be sure that you accept the fees for this before signing up.

2. Is advanced threat protection included as standard?

Protection from threats at an advanced level is not an optional extra. It is the basic that you need to stay safe on the web. Make sure any cloud email security provider you consider choosing has advanced threat protection, which includes things like spoofing, phishing, and spear phishing security.

Providers will generally have varying levels of protection that you can choose from, so talk to your potential supplier carefully to ensure you get the package that covers your needs. 

3. Will the platform be customisable for my business?

Email security systems can sometimes be inflexible. If you are an organisation that needs some level of customisation or has specific policies that need to be put in place then you may need to pay for bespoke development or talk to support.

Software like FuseMail will give you good levels of customisation, allowing you to keep your system under your control. Check the terms and conditions of the contracts before signing up to make sure you are aware of what you can and can't customise.

4. Is data loss prevention handled?

As soon as you send data outside of your own organisation you need to ensure you have sufficient levels of protection in place to prevent potential data hacks and losses.

Your web and email security system should be set up to sound the alarm if there is a potential breach, either through keyword policies, data strings, or other bespoke criteria. Attachments should always be scanned as well, and if there is a breach your user/s as well as IT admin, line managers, and HR can be notified. All of this will be even more important when the GDPR comes into force in May 2018.

5. Does it work with IMAP, MAPI, and POP messaging protocols?

An email security provider should be flexible enough to move with you, wherever you move to. Look for a service that works with all the major messaging protocols and clients, like IMAP, MAPI, and POP.

A lot of companies, including many of our clients, are now using or moving towards Office 365 for business because of its benefits. So, it is a really good idea before signing up with a new provider to check that it works with this software.

6. Do messages all have a single unified interface?

To help you reduce the amount of time that you spend on your IT administration, you'll want to make sure that your email security provider has a single unified interface. Key things that also help with cutting time, and therefore costs, are fewer false positives and a more streamlined process for managing quarantine. This means that you should only need to have to search through one quarantine area to find what you need. Look for a provider that allows for this and you'll set yourself up to be more productive in the long run.

7. Is email continuity guaranteed?

If a mail server fails, you want to be back up and running in as little time as absolutely possible. Email continuity is increasingly becoming a more critical service for SMEs, because if your server goes down or you are inexplicably left offline then your business can very quickly grind to a halt.

Ensuring email continuity should be one of the main goals of an email security provider. It means you never lose the ability to send or receive emails, and not every provider can offer this. So, check your chosen companies and see what they say on this matter - do they provide email continuity and do they charge extra for this service?

8. Are they investing in R&D?

It may sound a bit pedantic, but have you checked whether your email security provider of choice invests in research and development? This is a really worthwhile thing to check because some email security suppliers will sell you on a product that works, but it is never improved or developed upon.

You want to put your money into a product that is being regularly checked and updated. New threats are always emerging in the digital world, and you need to know that your chosen vendor is able to deal with the latest security issues.

9. Do they offer web security?

Many email security providers also offer web security packages as well. These two areas are very complementary, so it makes sense that if you trust them with your email you should be able to trust them with your web security too. From monitoring employee productivity to granular policy enforcement, web security can be helpful for businesses whatever their size. 

When you're narrowing down your email security service provider, take a look at what they offer in the web security realm too. Do their packages cover what you are looking for here too? If so, it might be a more streamlined process to go with an email and web security service from the same vendor.

10. Is email archiving included?

Small business will find it simpler to have all their online vendors in one place, so it makes complete sense to have email security and cloud email archiving together in one neat package. Email archiving is an excellent complement to email security and one that allows you to always be on top of your data and systems.

You'll save yourself time by going with one provider who can manage your security and archiving all together, and there are services out there that will fit the bill for you.

At Xenace, we work with our partners to provide the absolute best email security service for your small business. If you’re thinking about protecting your business email and web activities, then we can definitely help. Give us a call or send us a message and we can help you find the exact right services for you. 

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