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Why email security is key to protecting finance sector data

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When it comes to data security, wealth management and insurance firms have a bigger target on their backs than most. IT leaders for these types of organizations understand this, which is why they’ve traditionally focused their attention on preventing incoming and malicious attacks. However, this approach leaves finance companies wide open to the other, far more prevalent, causes of data loss events — all of which occur over email.

Email remains an essential tool for businesses. Due to the sheer quantity of sensitive data being shared through potentially insecure networks, email is a major vector for potential data leaks. Highlighting the risk email poses, the most frequent cause of data security breaches reported to the ICO came from users sending sensitive data to the wrong recipient.

Despite this, most email security solutions today don’t account for outbound email security. Popular email service providers may have outbound email filtering rules but these are often too rigid to adapt to evolving ways of working, and often require IT teams to constantly update and configure them.

To reduce risk from outbound emails, your email client should include features for:

1. Reporting on data logging, loss and near-misses

Access to data on email performance ensures data protection leaders can identify:

  • Employee habits, empowering them to identify risky behavior and any requirement for intervention or extra training
  • Email performance, regarding whether emails were sent encrypted, recalled, or accessed, including proof of delivery if needed.
  • Data status, providing clarity on whether a data leak has occurred and to what extent.

With access to this data, users and data protection professionals can identify when emails were sent, received, forwarded, and the security levels applied. These insights are key to taking action quickly and providing a full account of due diligence.

2. Managing email access and recalling data

Misdirected emails, misuse of BCC, and failure to revoke sensitive data are all errors that can be avoided with effective recall functionality. And yet, recall is largely limited in standard email clients. Through the application of expiration controls, employees can protect sensitive data even after sending.

In addition, employees must be able to confirm whether an email has been opened by the recipient before recalling it. If the email hasn’t been opened, the organization can guarantee a data leak has been avoided.

3. Controlling recipient access to sensitive data with multi-factor authentication

The NIS2 Directive places great emphasis on using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data. In fact, many global data protection laws are increasingly emphasizing the need for MFA functionality. 

MFA is the ideal safety net as it gives employees the ability to limit access to emails or files containing sensitive data. If an email is sent to the wrong person, for instance, MFA prevents that individual from opening it. Equally, if the email is intercepted or accessed unlawfully, your organization can rest assured the contents cannot be accessed. 

The application of MFA also communicates your commitment to data protection by requiring recipients to input time-based one-use codes or passwords to access their message, depending on the controls agreed between the sender and recipient. 

4. Effortless human error prevention

From recalling emails and applying encryption to acting on potential security hazards your email environment should make doing the right thing easy for employees. After all, when email security becomes an obstacle for even the most diligent employees, they are less likely to follow security best practices. With smart machine learning, security solutions significantly improve how convenient it is to stay secure.  

Machine learning can also be used to tailor solutions to the specific needs of financial organizations, meaning they can identify financial information, bank account numbers, national insurance information, and more. This empowers your security system to notify employees about message content before sending. Along with asking users to review their messages, your system can also notify them about encrypting emails.  

Where traditional email security fails, Zivver provides a purpose built solution to protect the daily communications on which financial organizations depend.

Zivver Secure Email helps increase resistance to both inbound and outbound email threats. Not only will the system automatically detect and prevent common mistakes before emails and files are sent, but it ensures data is properly encrypted with access with MFA, and can’t be intercepted.

With seamless integration with Outlook and Gmail, providing a more reliable solution to email recall if needed. Zivver provides organizations with a birds-eye view of their email security, allowing them to scope out and prevent data leaks and attacks coming from any direction.

Get in touch to find out more.

First published -
Last updated - 09/04/24
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