SA companies need to look at e-mail security with a wide-angle lens in 2014
The e-mail security vista is changing and anti-spam and virus protection are no longer enough, says Richard Broeke, IT security expert at Securicom.
South African companies may have bedded down the e-mail security basics, but they are going to have to re-look at how they define e-mail security and look at it with a "wide-angle lens" in 2014. That's if they are to navigate a dramatically shifting legislative and governance landscape. The e-mail security vista is changing and anti-spam and virus protection are no longer enough, says Richard Broeke, an IT security expert at Securicom.
"Although once on the back foot, South African companies for the most part have caught up and have controls in place to protect their networks against e-mail-borne threats. However, e-mail security is no longer just a matter of having controls in place to monitor and manage malware.
"Companies are under increasing pressure to comply with various pieces of legislation that deal with the processing, management, security and storage of information, including e-mail. Among larger enterprises, there's already a shift beyond pure e-mail security towards more comprehensive controls in terms of e-mail storage, policy enforcement, auditing, archiving and data recovery. This is largely driven by legislation, specifically in anticipation of the Protection of Public Information (POPI) Act, and push towards better corporate governance," he says.
According to Broeke, in previous years, the uptake of Securicom's e-mail security services was primarily around pure anti-spam and virus protection. In 2013, companies started focusing on more comprehensive solutions that not only provide security, but data loss prevention, archiving and business continuity as well.
Broeke expects this trend to gain momentum in 2014, particularly among small to mid-sized businesses, as they come under pressure to comply with POPI and other pieces of legislation such as the ECT and Companies Act.
"These businesses typically need enterprise-class services, but just don't have the resources or the budget for the associated costs. We have developed a simple go-to-market pricing model that allows them to access best-in-class technologies and the necessary skills to enable them to get up to date in terms of both security and compliance," he says.
Securicom's premium e-mail security and content management service, e-Purifier, effectively protects companies against Internet threats coming in via e-mail. However, it goes beyond just protecting the e-mail gateway.
It is a complete message management solution encompassing comprehensive message content filtering to manage the nature of information that can enter and exit the company e-mail system, based on individual organisations' specific security policies. This includes the ability to create rules around which employees can receive certain types of e-mails and when - to the point that e-mails can be intercepted en route and rerouted to the most appropriate person.
MailVault, a cloud-based e-mail archiving service, not only provides an interactive archive of electronic messages to ensure compliance with local legislation, but it also ensures business continuity by providing continuous and anytime access to new and archived e-mails via a dedicated Web interface using any Internet-enabled device.
The solution is fully hosted in the cloud by Securicom at a secure local data centre and delivered as a managed service. The solution provides complete and reliable real-time backup of all electronic communication in a central archive that is equal to housing a fully-redundant system for e-mail archiving and retrieval, but without the high cost.
Most recently, Securicom included a unique "plug-in" for MailVault. The "plug-in" integrates with corporate e-mail clients, allowing users to continue accessing and working with e-mails, using their usual e-mail interface, even when the e-mail server is down.
With e-Purifier and MailVault working together, companies have a complete solution for addressing e-mail security threats, data loss, content management, and e-mail storage for compliance and good governance.
As both services are hosted and managed by Securicom, they are extremely cost-effective for companies that don't have the budget to buy and maintain on-premises solutions of the same standard.