A secure email gateway offers protection before mail delivery as it can stop email-based threats before these can reach your mail server. A secure email gateway can be on-premise or cloud-based. These gateways can safeguard your company from service attacks and harmful malware and viruses. They can check all internal, outbound, and incoming email communications such as URLs and attachments for symptoms of harmful or malicious content.
Definition of email gateway
In its simplest form, an email gateway refers to a kind of email server that can protect the user’s internal email servers. An organization’s email server makes sure that every outgoing and incoming email passes through it. The server functions as a gateway into the user organization’s email platform.
Email gateways do not host the email inbox of any user. Rather, its job is to inspect, analyze, and scan all inbound emails before entering the email inbox of a user.
A company has no control over the emails, which are sent to their server. On the other hand, when an email reaches its server, the email server can decide on whether it should be allowed to enter the inbox of its user or not. An email gateway is also referred to as email filtering service, encryption gateways, email security gateways, and so on.
What is the importance of a secure email gateway?
Hackers often target email to access an organization’s private data by using attacking mechanisms such as phishing. It is imperative to note that email is a weak area within the network of an organization. After all, techniques of attacking emails are becoming advanced and face a growing number of harmful threats like malicious attachments, phishing attacks, and ransomware.
The first line of email defense in any organization is to set up an email gateway.
Such solutions can safeguard companies by stopping malicious data accompanying the emails and blocking malicious emails to get delivered into the users’ inboxes.
Working of an email gateway
An email gateway functions as a set of diverse technologies, which operate together for blocking email threats. These technologies serve as a firewall for an organization’s email communications by putting place a collection of rules about the kinds of inbound or outgoing emails to be permitted in the email network.
An email server will scan all malicious outbound, as well as, inbound emails. Thus, malicious content can be stopped from entering into the inboxes of employees. An email gateway also provides attributes like blocking the entry of malware and virus, email archiving, content filtering, and spam filtering, among others.
An email gateway may be set up on different cloud-based architectures. They can be based on public cloud, hybrid-based architectures, or virtual appliances. It denotes that many of them use a cloud platform to filter email traffic of an organization.
An email gateway functions on the network level and filters emails before they can be delivered into inboxes. Hence, they do not have any kind of impact on the devices of the end-users.
It also denotes that the email gateway can provide a powerful layer of protection for an organization’s email clients. It is irrespective of the kinds of devices they are using and not only the devices they use for the company. Additionally, an email gateway enables an entrepreneur to protect their remotely working employees or employees who bring their own devices like laptops to the workplace. Gateway servers do not have any impact on these devices’ performances.
Major functions of an email gateway
We will now look at and summarize some key functions, which can be performed by email gateways for an organization where they are set up:
1) Filtering spams
It is one of the core functionalities of any email gateway. An important question that comes up is which of the following are functions of gateway email spam blockers? You should note that all email gateways deploy certain filtering technologies, which quarantine or block emails from spam email domains. These security gateways make use of specific algorithms for detecting patterns. They typically appear in spam emails like malicious links and keywords that help stop new spam emails from getting delivered into email inboxes. These email gateways also offer certain controls for a business’s end-users to block and report spam emails, bypassing them from their email client.
2) Protection from phishing
Secured email gateways offer a layer of protection to the businesses so that they can be immune from phishing attacks. These servers use anti-fraud technologies to spot, as well as prevent sender spoofing. They use the technique of domain name validation so that phishing attacks can be blocked and identified.
They can also remove emails that come with malicious attachments and URLs that can stop emails coming in with links to various phishing portals from being delivered to the inboxes.
3) Protection from malware and viruses
Email gateways can block malware and viruses from infecting organizational networks. They can work as filters for emails by using anti-virus technologies. These technologies can quarantine emails after identifying messages detected in malicious attachments and URLs.
4) Reporting and admin controls
Email gateways give administrators control over various email quarantines and policies. These mail servers provide the admin the functionality of security management over the entire network. There is typically a centrally administered dashboard. Configurable and automated reports enable an admin to get higher visibility over the email security landscape.
Advantages of an email gateway
It is not easy to comprehend what kind of threats a business will face as far as the phishing attackers and emails from hackers are concerned. Any kind of email security-related threats can be blocked when a business uses the services of an email gateway. It is an unprecedented advantage for the entire business. An email gateway can provide multiple benefits to an organization, which are
1) Encryption of emails
It is one of the best security advantages provided by an email gateway. Although a hacker may get access to the primary server, the gateway offers external encryption, which stops the intruder from accessing emails, which are exchanged. Attacks can be made in the form of a malicious email. Although there is a chance of several attacks to be successful, an additional layer of protection is useful in such scenarios to protect sensitive data.
2) Meet an organization’s compliance requirements
An email gateway can help an organization to meet its compliance requirements. Several email gateways meet compliance requirements by keeping a backup of emails for the sake of legal compliances.
3) Hassle-free and cost-efficient countermeasures!
The services of an email gateway are hassle-free and cost-effective countermeasures, which business can have in place against risks from emails. You can procure some email gateways without paying anything for them. When an organization does not require a high level of email security, it can opt for a free email gateway.
4) Bridge the gaps in email security
It is not always sufficient to install anti-virus software to block an external threat for various reasons. A key reason for this is that hackers can come up with programs that may bypass the software with great ease. It is precisely where the services of an email gateway can come handy. It can prevent threats from passing through a server as their design differs from other email security applications.
An email gateway also can protect from different types of social engineering threats like business email compromise or phishing. Such a gateway can scan your incoming mails’ domain and also check for dubious content within all emails so that harmful content can be blocked from entering into your network. When an email gateway has been marked an email as malicious is rejected or quarantined. A few systems permit the admins to access these quarantined emails if required.
Apart from stopping incoming threats, an email gateway can also check outgoing content. The functionality can safeguard a business from data loss. Several email gateways will offer the functionality of email archiving, which can save emails for data management and legal compliance. There are certain email servers, which can offer continuity features to a business. It denoted that even if an email network is down, the users can still access emails.
Email gateways also provide a management dashboard alongside an array of analytical tools and reports. All these features offer businesses to see the entire email traffic in their network. A business must get insights into the security of their network.
The best part of email gateways is that they can be used for all kinds of businesses to enhance their email security. These email gateways can offer the functionality of business continuity.
Business continuity refers to a feature where all email services can normally work despite an organization’s email client stops functioning. The functionality of the email gateway remains uninterrupted for a particular reason. The server can allow its users to continue using the email services through a cloud-based interface even when an email client such as Office 365 is unavailable.