What is an “Email Security Gateway”?

An Email Security Gateway is one of the first lines of defense we deploy against certain cyberthreats to our organizations. Spam, phishing attacks, and email compromise are just a few of these threats that email security gateways block. Most email solutions like G-suite and Office365 offer some baseline gateway but enhancing them with an ESG improves your cyber posture. Advanced SPAM filtering, smart detection, and other security features highlight providers like Barracuda, Mimecast, and Proofpoint.

While looking for an Email Security Gateway it is essential to keep a few things in mind.

Just like looking for an endpoint solution, I think of the acronym F.U.N.D.S

Full, Tiered, Deployment:

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While cost saving measures are crucial to efficiency, Email Security Gateways are just as important to your network integrity. While there are always exceptions to this rule, if an email account is compromised it can used as a vector to gain more access to your organization. Another thing to keep in mind is that email is usually the lifeblood of communication within your organization. Having a rollout approach (with the capability to do so) improves your ability to maintain regularity while upgrading or improving your security. Every member with an email should be covered with the solution, as any compromised account can lead to many more. The recent twitter hack, for example, happened because a lower-level engineer account “social engineered” their way to increased access.

Understand The Email Security Gateway

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There is a lot of buzzwords floating about the “Email Security Gateway” market. Understanding what they mean could be the difference between a solution working best for your company or completely failing it. While you do not have to understand the technical side of how these ESG products work, you should understand the limitations of the product and design a policy around those limitations. Know exactly what it is and what it does can spell the difference between having complete redundancy and waste ins a solution and having enhanced security.

Not without a Demo:

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How can you know that a solution can work for you if you do not test it out? The security infrastructure we employ for our organizations is as unique as a fingerprint for a person. You need to make sure that the solution works for you, is not redundant, and does not drain necessary resources. You can do this by testing it. Plain and simple. Go back to looking out how a roll out approach works. Make sure that the solution can handle your infrastructure and do what you need it to do.

Do your Research:

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This idea is a pretty broad one. Do your research on…everything. Do your research on competitor solutions to the one you’re using/and or considering.  Do your research on your business hardware and business needs. What issues are you trying to solve? Understanding and researching every aspect of your email security gateway is a great way to cut costs down the line from email compromises.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is accurately defining a problem. For example. You’re not trying to solve phishing attacks, that will always be there. What you’re trying to solve is the occurrence rate of them affecting your organization.

Solicit the right questions:

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By this time, you’ve done your research, understand the solutions, and tested it out. You should be able to solicit the right questions. Ask about limitations to their filtering policies. Look into how their “multi-layer” security scans of email. Ask them about your specific software infrastructure. Inquire about how their AI detects zero-day threats, and what does it do differently than the other solutions out there.

This is a crucial part of the process, and this is also most likely where you can save the most time, which in turn saves the most money.  


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"AGT" offers complete end-to-end security protection through technology tools, cybersecurity strategy, consulting, and project management services. From addressing specific security gaps to a full environment cybersecurity strategy. With services designed to improve any organization’s overall organizational security posture, AGT develops strategies to implement and deploy successful cybersecurity solutions to protect companies from data and financial loss.