When it comes to protecting companies, organizations, or educational institutions that handle sensitive data and information, having an air-tight email security solution is vital in keeping everything where it should be. There’s plenty of highly scalable solutions on the market that do just that.
But what about your local high school?
Elementary, middle, and high schools all process extremely sensitive information and data. Information on students and their addresses, test scores, and more are all important and need protecting. But your average college-friendly solution isn’t applicable to a middle school of some 2000 members of staff, faculty, and students.
When looking for an appropriate email security service, organizations need to look for a few things in particular. Manageability is important. US high school populations can range from 500 to 5,000 students, so deploying an enterprise-level solution not only wastes time, effort, and money, it’s beyond what a school needs to be able to offer comprehensive email security. Solutions must fall in line with strict government guidance and regulations. Cost is also something to consider – most K12-level schools simply don’t have the budget for expensive solutions, both in terms of buying the product and actually running it.
With this in mind, we compiled a list of reasonable email security options that are manageable for small IT teams and cost-effective.
What Risks Do Education Email Accounts Face?
Educational institutions are an appealing target for attackers due to the amount of personal data that they store, and the trustworthy position that they hold within society. This makes them ideal candidates for ransomware or to be spoofed and exploited as part of a business email compromise attack.
Ransomware is a form of malware that will lock your files and applications once activated on your device. To unlock your device, and restore access, users must pay a ransom fee to the attackers. Even if they pay this money, there is no grantee that the data will be unlocked. The data could still be compromised if it is sold or copied.
Business email compromise involves imitating a known or trusted brand to then exploit information or finance from an organization. It could be that an educational organization is the target of such a scam, or that a real educational domain is used to trick other organizations or individuals into giving up data or finance.
What To Look For In An Email Security Solution?
Email security solutions work in several ways, to respond to several different types of threat.
- Scanning and Filtering – This identifies known and novel viruses or malware. A good solution will connect to a large threat database that is continuously updated with the latest threats.
- Phishing and BEC Identification – when monitoring your inbox, your solution should be able to flag suspicious users, spoofed domains, or other malicious content.
- Outbound Filtering and Encryption – To ensure that you do not send confidential information to the wrong user, your solution should have encryption features, as well as confirming that you are contacting the user you think you are.
- URL Scanning – To ensure you are not redirected to any misleading websites, URL scanning will ensure that links are not malicious each time you click on it.
In addition to these features, it is worth checking that your solution integrates with your mail provider – Outlook or Gmail for instance.
A solution that includes archiving may also be of use. This will make it easier for you to catalogue and search through emails to find the information that you need.